|Africa Eco Race: Already 200 participants - Kamaz Master to start in 2013.|
As the same time as the organization was counting out 200 participants entering, a very good news was confirmed. The Team "Kamaz Master" is entering on the next "Sonangol Africa Race". A return in Africa for this mythical team which proves the growing interest for the Sonangol Africa Race in the Cross Country Rallies.
Semen Yakubov, the symbolic boss of Kamaz Master, agreed to answer few questions:
MR: You are on the basis of the long story of Kamaz in racing, and you possess one of the biggest prize list in Cross Country Rallies. How are you?
Semen Yakubov: "I am still working hard as I am still in charge of numerous matters for the team Kamaz Master. Besides, as you know certainly, since 2009, I am organizing in Russia, the "Silk Way Rally". This event became very popular all over the world. We have already made a debriefing of the Silk Way Rally 2012. We have started to work hard for the next edition for which, we hope, have great pilots and teams."
MR: Team Kamaz wrote most right-hand pages of its story in Africa under your responsibility. What motivated this return on the Sonangol Africa Race?
Yakubov: "In a way, you answered this question. Indeed, we have good souvenirs of Africa, even if sometimes it was not easy. But, the possibility to overcome difficulties in extreme conditions, a trip in unknown territories, the discovery of new cultures, constitute the real values of Cross Country Rallies."
"Africa, with its hard tests, incredible beauty of its landscapes and this spirit of the Dakar Rally, will remain engraved for ever in my memory. We have many friends in the discipline. All those who participated at least once in the Africa Race, speak unanimously of a true and friendly atmosphere, the mutual aid and the fraternity on this event. Like it is said in a song: " in the sport there are opponents, but there are no enemies."
"I believe that it is to the founder of this race, Jean-Louis Schlesser, that returns the merit. Actually, as he is still a pilot, he knows what competitors are waiting for and he knows perfectly what is important to make an event difficult and interesting at the same time."
MR: Who will be the pilots of the 2 race trucks entering the race?
Yakubov: "On the sports plan, Africa Race is a very complicated race with on one hand the difficulties of the ground and on the other hand the presence of successful and experimented opponents. For us, it will be a very severe test for our two experimental young people Anton Shibalov and Dmitry Sotnikov. But, for them, the experience will be of the most precious."
MR: About media, are you planning to set up a specific communication plan, in particular with Russian television?
Yakubov: "Yes, of course. In Russia, we work a lot on the promotion of Cross Country Rallies. All the competitions where Kamaz Master participates, whether it is Silk Way Rally, Dakar and now Africa Race, create a huge interest from journalists and all the fans of motor sport."
We had also the opportunity to interview Vladimir Chagin, the "Tzar of the Desert", and meanwhile the new Team Manager of "Kamaz Master":
MR: As the new Team Manager of Kamaz Master, you make a strong gesture by entering your trucks in the countries of your most beautiful victories.
Vladimir Chagin: "You are right. It is extremely important for Kamaz. Myself, I would love to be in Africa with our young pilots and, in a way, I envy them. But duty calls me beside the team Kamaz in South America. In Africa, the team manager of our two pilots Anton Shibalov and Dmitry Sotnikov, will be Vasily Kvachev."
MR: But you are going to give them some advise. Which will there be?
Chagin: "With Semen Yakubov, we developed a strategy and tactic which we are going to be followed on the Africa Race. Africa is an open and vast territory with numerous traps. We have to take quickly none ordinary decisions. There is a lot of work for the co-pilots and often, the navigation skills of a crew helps to gain a victory. It is a subtle battle with the rivals, sometimes even a battle for survival and a mutual assistance. Believe me, it will be a very useful experience for our young pilots. I wish them to resist all the tests of this difficult and fascinating race."
MR: Can you tell us more about the racing trucks, technical means and their performances?
Chagin: "It will be a good old series truck Kamaz 4326. It has the advantage to be a truck which can always be modified. Every year, we do modifications and improvements to make it always lighter and more powerful. In spite of the problems that we met in South America, we did not change the engine model and kept our trust to the Russian manufacturer TMZ."
MR: Do you think that, for the first time in the Cross Country Rallies history, a Kamaz could be the winner of the general classification?
Chagin: "I do not think that the rank in the final general classification is our main objective. Even if it happened that trucks get closer to cars, we have never tried to beat them. We always concentrated on our results in the truck category. It’s not a secret, and a lot of experts noticed that the truck competition level increased a lot these last years."
"Trucks go faster and faster and pilots must be always more skillful. It creates a lot of interest for this category. This coincides with the program of renovation of our team. It is a difficult time where the veterans give up their place to the young people. We would have been able to continue to rest on our laurels after plentiful years in terms of success."
"But the Kamaz Masters team has a politic of development and future. I’m sure that in a near future, our young pilots will obtain good results on international events in particular on the Africa Race."
No doubt, the Russian trucks will create an animation during the departure of the Sonangol Africa Race in Saint Cyprien on December 27th.
Indeed, after an extraordinary welcome and an incredible public craze from the region of south of France, Languedoc Roussilon, the seaside of the Pyrénées Orientales will welcome, once again, the Rally caravan for the technical and administrative checks, on December 26th and 27th, 2012. The opportunity for the motor sport fans, next to Perpignan, to admire all the vehicles and to exchange with the pilots."
2012/09/18 | 16:09 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/AER