NOVO-OGAREVO, January 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated members of Russia’s truck team KAMAZ-Master on brilliant victory in the Dakar Rally, which became already the 12th Dakar win for the Russian team. The president noted that members of the team showed themselves not only as quick athletes, but also as highly generous people, as they were courageous enough to stop and help their rivals in trouble, putting their leadership at risk.
“Our meetings with you become regular thanks to our victories,” Putin said, opening the meeting with Russian truck racers. “However, they are no less bright over this fact,” he added.
“It is amazingly that you succeed to lead in these hardest competitions for many years,” Putin said. “Meanwhile, you showed not only mastery, but also generosity, helping Chinese team this year,” the president noted.
The president thanked all athletes and chiefs of the Russian truck team and named KAMAZ’s successes great at the Dakar Rally, where the Russian team had won almost all places in the top five this year.
For his part, captain of Russian truck team KAMAZ-Master Vladimir Chagin noted that apart from tasks to win KAMAZ plant faced one more goal. “The Dakar is the first competition in this year, and this year is Olympic, and it was important to begin well this year and set a successful pace for Russian athletes,” he noted.
As for the motor race, Chagin acknowledged that it seemed sometimes that Russian team would not win the Dakar Rally this year. “3-4 days before the end of the rally we were lagging 40 minutes behind, but Russian spirit permitted us to mobilize, do our impossible and take away the victory,” he said. “Our teammates acted generously, correctly (stopping to help Chinese team), even despite the fact that there was some risk that this time would not be brought back to them, but justice triumphed, and we have brought golden Bedouin of Dakar for the 12th time to our homeland,” he added.
For his part, KAMAZ Director General Sergey Kogogin noted that sport aspect is just one thing of how the enterprise looks at the motor race. “This is a testing ground for us,” he added, describing it as “10,000 kilometers of awful trials.”
Kogogin noted that this year Russian trucks had used many innovations, particularly a new engine, suspension members and others. “These elements are already being mounted on military-purpose trucks on commercial scale,” he noted.
Russia’s Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov supported the opinion of other participants in the meeting. In his words, KAMAZ has finally turned in a self-sufficient enterprise. “Dakar results point to the fact that it also has major potential,” the republican leader said.
The Dakar is an annual transcontinental marathon race, which is held from 1978. The race runs through several Latin American countries, however, at first the race finished or started in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, and was named after the city.
The Dakar is held at the very start of every year and lasts 14 days. The race route is running mostly off-road. A winner should pass the race for the shortest possible time. The racers compete in four classes: motorbikes, quadricycles, cars or jeeps and trucks.
Dakar 2014 route became the longest one since the time the race moved to South America and stretches at 9,730 kilometers. Less than a half (47%) of 439 racers in all four categories reached the finish line.
Russian truck team KAMAZ-Master participated in the Dakar Rally for the first time in 1990. Since then the team competed in the race 23 times and won it 12 times.
KAMAZ-Master team competed in five trucks at the Dakar Rally this year. Russian trucks have won gold, bronze medals, fourth and fifth places in the motor race, which many specialists named as one of the hardest Dakar races in the last few years. A Russian truck crew failed to get to the finish over breakdown.
Iveco’s truck crew led by Dutch racer Gerard de Rooy has won the second place, though, according to several observers, its advantage in time was caused by quite dubious decisions of referees. However, Karginov succeeded to catch up with and outrun the rival two stages before the finish in close competition.
De Rooy’s truck crew finished with better time. However, it was found out later that a Chinese truck overturned and blocked the road. The Dutch truck drove by, not giving aid, but also hitting the damaged truck. Two KAMAZ trucks driving behind, including Karginov’s crew, stopped and helped the rival. Despite a protest from De Rooy’s crew, a panel of sport commissioners according to the race rules compensated for the time, which KAMAZ-Master team had lost, giving help to the Chinese crew. Results of this Dakar stage were specified and the best time was granted to Karginov’s truck crew.