Kamaz: quiet domination... The Kamaz trucks - with their leader Vladimir Chagin - have been the undoubted masters of the truck category for many years. Let's look into their winning machine. It is almost a ritual. When Vladimir Chagin gets to...
Kamaz: quiet domination...
The Kamaz trucks - with their leader Vladimir Chagin - have been the undoubted masters of the truck category for many years. Let's look into their winning machine.
It is almost a ritual. When Vladimir Chagin gets to the bivouac and meticulously stops his truck on the white tarpaulin spread on the ground he always gets off his truck in silence. Winner or not, nothing ever transpires. He unzips his overalls a little while someone gives him a can of lager. "Russian beer", says the interpreter. Logistical excellence and precision, that is what Kamaz does best. Chagin is already reviewing his truck and giving orders to the mechanics. The five-time Dakar winner (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006) is still there. Some advice to the mechanics here, a quick glance at the technical factsheet displayed on the door of the truck and a little help there if need be. The one who quickly became known as the "Tsar" lives and breathes trucks. 40 years old since January 5th, this man has one passion: trucks and has been supporting - for a decade now - a brand that also has in its line up the present title holder of the Dakar Firdaus Kabirov (who also won the 2005 edition) and Ilgizar Mardeev a very nice and top team mate that will never shy from winning the odd stage once in a while.
"In our team, the Dakar is worked on all year long", underlines Evgeny Svrylev, the team's coordinator to explain the present mastery of the Kamaz on the Dakar with 7 victories in the last 9 editions. "We prepare ourselves for 11 months both technically and morally. We actually set our minds on the Dakar." If the domination of the blue trucks can be explained by the skills of their drivers and by the means available to the powerful truck manufacturer, determination is always the element highlighted by the team. The Kamaz team has by the way a house motto: "A successful Dakar is guaranteed income for the rest of the year." Based in Nabereznye Chelny, a city of 500,000 inhabitants in the Republic of Tatarstan, the race unit of Kamaz is exclusively dedicated to the Dakar. "We innovate all the time. The upgrades and new designs are tried in other races... not always the same races by the way. In 2009 e.g. we participated in the Rostov stage of the Russian All-road Championship and to the Kalmykya stage in the area of the Caspian Sea. We sometimes take part in the Desert Challenge and of course we did not miss the first Silk Way Rally."
With a team of 28 people - drivers included - Team Kamaz is inspired and managed by a shrewd man called Yabukov and has started reeping the fruits of its hard work at stage one already. An opening victory for the Tsar followed by three more brought his total number of victories to a total of 51 scratches; then Firdaus Kabirov increased the score of the team by winning the Antofagasta stage reaching a personal number of 30 stage victories in a Dakar. Just business as usual for Kamaz... that's it!