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Russia’s Kamaz-Master team refuses to ink deal with FIA, will not enter 2023 Dakar Rally

Since the late 1990s, the Kamaz-Master Team has dominated the truck category, winning a record 19 of the prestigious rally races

MOSCOW, September 28. /TASS/. Russia’s Kamaz-Master Team refused to sign a document provided by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) required to participate in the 2023 Dakar Rally, the team’s press office said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The participation of Russian athletes at the Dakar rally is given under the condition that they sign the Driver Commitment of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), which condemns the Russian special operation in Ukraine," according to a statement posted on the official website of Kamaz-Master Team.

"In our opinion, the content of this document is political and also violates the principles of equal rights for athletes," the statement reads. "We consider it impossible to sign such documents and participate in competitions under such conditions."

"Our choice is clear - we are always with our homeland, especially in difficult situations," the statement continued.

The 45th edition of the Dakar Rally is scheduled to run between December 31, 2022 and January 15, 2023. The 14-stage route of the 2023 Dakar Rally edition will kick off at a ‘Sea Camp’ near Yanbu, on the Red Sea shore, and is scheduled to finish in Dammam, at a Persian Gulf shore.

According to the official website of the 2023 Dakar Rally: "There will be a new itinerary for the fourth edition of the Dakar in Saudi Arabia from December 31, 2022, to January 15, 2023 and 1st round ot the FIA-FIM World Rally-Raid Championship. The route will take the pilots from the beaches of the Red Sea to the sands of the Arabian Gulf in Dammam. This crossing of the country will be, in fact, a complete tour as the 14 stages will first lead the Dakar to the north-western mountain regions before heading to the deep southeast for a three-day journey through ocean of dunes in the Empty Quarter."

Four squads from Russia’s Kamaz-Master-Team finished in the top four of the 2022 Dakar Rally and the Russian team enjoyed victory for the 19th time at the prestigious annual rally race. Dmitry Sotnikov’s crew from Russia’s Kamaz-Master Team won the 2022 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia in the trucks category with an overall time of 48 hours 23 minutes and 21 seconds following 12 stages of the race.

Since the late 1990s, the Kamaz-Master Team has dominated the truck category, winning a record 19 of the prestigious rally races.

On February 28, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued recommendations to international sports federations to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in international tournaments, citing Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine as the reason.

Following the IOC recommendations in late February, the majority of global sports federations decided to bar Russian and Belarusian athletes from all international sports tournaments.

On March 1, the FIA announced special conditions allowing racers from Russia and Belarus to participate in international racing tournaments under a neutral flag and only after signing a particular document stipulating a set of restrictive measures.