MOSCOW, December 20 (R-Sport) – Kamaz-Master, the world's dominant truck team in long-distance off-road races, has dropped its winning Russian engines in favor of a Swiss design for next month’s Dakar Rally.
The team’s director, Vladimir Chagin, is putting his hopes on Liebherr engines for all three of the Kamaz trucks that swept the Dakar podium in 2013, in place of the domestic models that were used previously. Two other crews will continue with the old set-up.
“We are using this engine for the first season and we hope it will be reliable and won’t let us down,” said Chagin, a seven-time Dakar champion. “Our task is to find all the best details in the world and construct the best vehicle that will be competitive and interesting to the buyer.”
Kamaz will not deploy an experimental fuel-saving gas turbine design at Dakar, Chagin said, adding that he hoped it would be ready for competition at other events next year.
Chagin said that he had set a target of getting all of the team's top three entries, in the Liebherr-powered trucks, into the top 10. Kamaz has won the truck category in 10 of the last 13 editions of the rally.
“The crews of [Eduard] Nikolaev, [Ayrat] Mardeev and [Andrey] Karginov have a task of reaching the top 10 at Dakar 2014,” Chagin said.
“The task of Dmitry Sotnikov and Anton Shibalov is to finish the whole race, earn experience and test the cars. We hope they won’t let us down.”
With stages that are almost twice as long, the 2014 Dakar configuration puts greater pressure on the drivers and vehicles, Chagin said.
The 35th edition of the Dakar rally will start in Rosario, Argentina, on January 5 and finish 13 days later in the Chilean city of Valparaiso.