|SA-Dakar 2012: Truck-favourite Kamaz to present a "new and younger team".|
As the Russian Radio [ VOICE OF RUSSIA ] reported, the 10-time Dakar winner, Russian truck favourite and actual champion Kamaz will be represented at this year’s competition by a new, younger team.
Vladimir Chagin and Firdaus Kabirov, the rally's previous winners, will not take part in the 2012 competition - but Vladimir Chagin will act as the new team's coach and manager. Edward Nikolaev, Airat Mardeev and Andrei Karginov will drive the Kamaz trucks in January.
Last year, the 20th year in the history of Kamaz was marked with the 10th victory of the Kamaz team, while Vladimir Chagin scored his 7th victory at the Dakar Rally. But in February 2011, he announced his retirement from racing. He makes his debut as a trainer this year.
"I do have a new profession indeed, and I have devoted all my energy to it this year. I have been trying hard to pass on my experience to the younger drivers for several years now" said Vladimir Chagin to 'Voice of Russia'. "There is now a need to encapsulate my previous experiences in a kind of a theory, in order to better pass on all my skills to the younger generation. I am glad that the younger drivers are well disposed to the idea."
Inheriting Vladimir Chagin’s #500 truck is Eduard Nikolaev, who earned the privilege by finishing third behind Chagin and Kabirov at last year’s Dakar. Nikolaev’s podium finish was made all the more impressive as it came on his Dakar debut. Now his nerve will truly be put to the test as the 27-year-old takes the wheel of the flagship Kamaz.
Nikolaev will have to put into practice everything he learned while working as Chagin’s mechanic during previous races as well as show the skill that saw him win the 2010 Silk Way Rally in his own right. He has said that the Dakar Rally is his Olympic Games and his ultimate dream is to win this race.
"Many of our competitors can't wait to see Russia replaced on the winner’s podium" said team leader Semen Yakubov to 'Voice of Russia'. "It means that this year’s rally will be a real test for us. It will be difficult to predict the results of this year’s competition. But our team is well-prepared and the trucks have been made ready earlier than usual with the engines overhauled and spare parts made available."
Yakubov added: "Our young drivers have undergone strenuous training in Morocco, and guided by Mr. Chagin, they have acquired more professionalism and driving skills on the sand of that country. We believe that the team is ready, but we are also aware that our rivals have also trained harder than before and that they are going to give us a run for our money."
2011/12/28 | 22:49 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/VOICEOFRUSSIA/RED BULL