It’s often said that these leviathans of the Dakar Rally are built like tanks – and the Russians have certainly been training with military dedication, at a special camp in Kazakhstan designed to replicate all the obstacles they will face in South America.
In charge of the overall operation once more is Vladimir Chagin: a seven-time winner of the Dakar as a driver and now the Kamaz team boss, overseeing a factory entry of three trucks that each put out 730 or so horsepower from a 17.2-litre V8 diesel engine.
So performance isn’t lacking. What’s even more remarkable is that these giant trucks are somehow capable of leaping effortlessly over sand dunes like turbocharged mountain goats.
“Train hard, fight easy: Alexander Suvorov – the last General of the Russian Empire – said that,” points out Chagin. “We try to follow his advice.
“What it means is that we make training as intensive as possible, choosing the longest special stages with maximum difficulty to see how the trucks will handle it, so that both the drivers and navigators get the maximum workload.”
Suvorov is reputed to have never lost a battle, remaining undefeated in 60 conflicts, and he even wrote a book about it: ‘The Science of Victory’. As a role model, he provides a lot to live up to. Yet with 13 Dakar victories to its name, Kamaz – the largest truck manufacturer in Russia – seems already to be following in Suvorov’s footsteps.
AUTHOR: Anthony Peacock
Source: Red Bull Content Pool