TRUCKS: WHO CAN COUNTER KAMAZ?
Real title collectors with seven out of the last eight editions of the Dakar won by one of theirs, the Kamaz drivers also tend to be vulnerable when over confident. A steering wheel virtuoso, Vladimir Chagin never hesitates to push his truck to its limits. But his appetite for speed and show sometimes drives him to commit mistakes. His track upsets probably cost him victory on three editions of the Dakar (2005, 2007, 2009). The frequent hiccups on behalf of Chagin could even invite some to think that the number two position is maybe more favourable in the Kamaz structure! Firdaus Kabirov, who made the best of that in 2005 and in 2009 indeed remains on a success that fell from the truck of Chagin during the first edition of the Silk Way Rally last September. This year, the Tsar is hoping for a sign from destiny to clinch a sixth title that would allow him to equal Karel Loprais on the record list of the event. In the right seat will indeed be a navigator who took part in the first (2000) and last triumph (2006) of Chagin. Semen Yakubov, team manager of Kamaz, will indeed be back in the cabin, going for the win.
The three blue trucks registered won’t be clear from their own euphoria on the 9000 kms of the very demanding course that awaits them. They will mostly have to keep a close eye on the eagerness of Ales Loprais who intends on being a rival of Kamaz in Argentina and Chile. The repetitive mechanical upsets witnessed in 2009 in his Tatra truck seem to be sorted out. The nephew of Karel, 3rd of the Silk Way could make the best of this year’s specific context: Gerard De Rooy who usually is the most serious rival for the Russians is indeed treating an injury that hit him in Turkmenistan during the last stage of the Silk Way. In such conditions, several outsiders could climb up the standings or add their names to the list of Dakar stage winners. It could be the hours of André de Azevedo (Tatra), or Wulfert Van Ginkel (Ginaf) or even of a member of the Sugawara family (Hino).