Dakar 2021 | Fifth consecutive win by Dmitri Sotnikov as Team Kamaz Master takes its 18th win
Kamaz-Master dominated the top three positions in the 43rd edition of the Dakar rally. With four squads participating in the 2021 Dakar, three teams bagged podium places by the end of the rally. By Stage 12 the overall rankings showed Team Kamaz-Master’s Dmitri Sotnikov at P1 with a timing of 48:23:21 hours, followed by teammate Anton Shibalov with a difference of 39:38 minutes and P3 was teammate Airat Mardeev with the difference of 01:14:35 hours from the leader.
The 2021 Dakar started in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and was a 12-day rally ending in Jeddah, covering a total distance of almost 8000km. Now, though team Kamaz-Master were in the lead in the overall rankings by the end of the rally, there were certain teams that were seen dominating in several stages and giving a tough competition to the Kamaz-Master squads. You can read about the stagewise updates in detail here
With the conclusion of the 43rd edition of Dakar rally, Kamaz-Master team took their 18th victory this year. Dmitri Sotnikov, the 37-year old driver who led Kamaz-Master team took his fifth consecutive win while teammate Anton Shibalov, who had two stage wins this year, was at P2. At P3 was Airat Mardeev, son of former Dakar champion Ilgizar Mardeev from 2009 and 2011, and who was also the press driver for Kamaz-Master last year, having returned to Dakar after six years.
After his P1 finish, Dmitri Sotnikov said, ‘It was the best race in my career. It was my dream and a lot of work, many years of work since my first Dakar in 2014 and finally, we have won it. Last year we had a failure due to a big stone, but this year everything was good. The first half was really fast for us and we got a good gap with our time. On the second part, it was just a case of reaching the finish every day. I think this tactic was the best for us. I’m full of emotions. All the crew, all the team, all the guys did a perfect job. I think it was a team job, not just me, I was just the driver, it was the whole team. I'm happy to drive this truck because it is the best truck in the world. We’re glad to continue our tradition of victory. Thank you to all the guys who support us all the time. A lot of people were waiting for our win and now I can tell them we've done it. There are a lot of other trucks that are close to us in terms of speed, but I don't know what happened to them, because on some stages they won, like Martin Macík, but they didn’t have enough luck maybe, I don’t know. It wasn’t an easy race and I think this Dakar was harder than the previous ones. The last stages like today and yesterday were really hard. We're looking forward to the next race here, it is a good place for the Dakar, I think”.
Speaking about the team’s excellent performance, Vladimir Chagin, Team Manager, Kamaz-Master said “This year all of us appeared in a new situation. There was no possibility to enter new engineering modifications to the trucks in order to improve them as we had done in previous years. The pandemic COVID19 first of all affected sports, culture and all events were postponed or cancelled. But, nevertheless, we are in good spirits, preparing for the start. All drivers are of equal level. For the Dakar, we had to choose four crews that will defend our colours. The decision was not easy. This year Eduard Nikolaev will temporarily leave the wheel of the racing truck. Eduard will help me in the race to make organizational and technical decisions. I think that his long-term experience of a mechanic and driver will help him. The Dakar requires you to make correct decisions extremely fast, only then you will be a champion.”