|Dakar Rally 2014: Kazakhstan to start with four "Astana" rally teams.|
Arthur Ardavichus from Kazakhstan - a mechanic, lawyer and logistics specialist - was one of the first who competed with a private Kamaz Rallytruck at the Dakar Rally. He started his career on a motobike at the previous "Silk Way Rally" in 2006 and finished second. In 2007 he participated in the "NPO Tunisia Rally" - also with a bike - and in the same year he switched to T1-prototype cars for the "NPO Morocco Rally".
He was infected - and in 2008 he wanted to participate in his first Dakar rally, this year in a T2 (production) car. But as we all know, this Dakar was cancelled and this was the end of the "real Dakar" in Africa.
It should take another three years that his Dakar-dream became true: After participating in Rallies like the "UAE Desert Challenge", "Transiberico Portugal" and other marathonrallies in a car, his first Dakar was in 2011 - behind the steering-wheel of a private Kamaz Truck in the mint green (or blue?) colours of his country and the name "Astana" - the capital of Kazakhstan. A name which is also well known in the international bicycle sports. His success was the birth of the "Astana Dakar Team", which will represent the European/Asian country with four participants in the Dakar Rally 2014.
Ardavichus himself switched from Kamaz to Tatra - yes, not a Russian truck, but an also reliable Czech one. "I will participate with a Tatra," he confirmed. "But not only that, we will have a big team this year. In T1, in T2 and in T4." The race-truck will be operated by the Czech "Bonver Dakar Team", Arthur Ardavichus will drive together with his navigator Alexey Nikizhev from Kazakhstan and Radim Kaplanke from the Czech Republic.
In the T1 (prototype) class, the team don´t like to experience. The team will be in front, so they decided to go with Toyota Overdrive, this year good for a second place, last year third (both with Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz). The team will start with two Toyotas, Aidyn Rakhimbayev / Vladimir Demyanenko and Bauyrzhan Issabayev / Gabdulla Ashimov. The third car will be competing in the T2-production class, a Nissan Patrol with Denis Berezovskiy and Ignat Falkov.
For the Astana team, the Dakar is not only a unique project: "We signed a 3-year-contract with the Czech Bonver/Dakar Team," Ardavichus said. "The Tatra is absolutely new. The concept of Tatra truck remains unchanged, as always it has an independent suspension. Tatra’s chassis construction is quite unusual, it is not linear, so it takes some getting used to before one can feel the vehicle and develop a fitting driving style. The engine is very powerful, more powerful than the one we had before."
2013/12/06 | 02:59 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS