“This Dakar will be special because of the marathon stage”
Many wagered on Eduard Nikolev, the prodigal son at Kamaz. Few however could have imagined seeing his elder Andrei Karginov winning the Dakar. The man in the shadows of the Kamaz group, the 39-year old driver followed the roadmap he set for himself at the start of the rally to the letter: stay close before going on the attack. Because at Kamaz, there is no leader, just brave soldiers ready to seize any opportunity to help the enterprise triumph. Karginov chose day 11 to spring up and give it his all. It was mission accomplished because he took the overall lead and never looked back. Third on the preceding edition, Karginov also gave the Russian constructor its 12th success, edging Gerard De Rooy for the win. Yet, the native of Mirnyy had a big scare during the final stage when he was stuck behind a damaged car; he thought victory had slipped through his hands. The intervention of the race stewards, who gave him back the five minutes he spent waiting, allowed Karginov to take the win by just 3:11. This narrow victory has pushed the Kamaz team to prepare even better for the 2015 edition in total secrecy in its stronghold of Naberezhnye Chelny. Along with faithful navigator Andrey Mokeev and new mechanic Igor Leonov, Karginov will try again to finish on the top step of the podium on January 17 in Buenos Aires.
A.K.: “What makes the 2015 Dakar so special is the choice of the organizers to offer the trucks a marathon stage. For many among us, it will be something new. We haven't had a marathon stage since 2005. Back then I was just a mechanic at the bivouac. So, we will run a first special stage then spend the night in a completely isolated area with no assistance, before resuming the race. When we heard about this decision, we quickly reviewed our list of spare parts that we will take with us on this day.”