“Endurance is the most important thing on a Dakar”
One of the secrets to the success of the Kamaz squad is their team spirit. The drivers of the blue trucks endlessly insist on the fact that the most important is to see a Kamaz vehicle on the top of the Dakar podium. Other than having a fantastic machine, that's how the Russian factory team has conquered so many crowns on the Dakar. Alongside Mardeev and Nikolaev, Dmitry Sotnikov will be another key asset of the squad. The 31-year-old was born and raised in Naberezhnye Chelny in the typical Kamaz tradition, like so many other Kamaz team members. Winner of the Silk Way and the Africa Eco Race in 2013, he was finally given a chance to shine on the Dakar in 2014. His first experience was indeed a fine one as he crossed the finish line in an excellent 4th spot, having claimed his first ever stage success on day 5. Since then, he has carried on his consistent run, however never managing to beat his best performance. The 2016 Dakar will certainly be one he wants to forget suffering all sorts of issues and eventually crossing the finish line in 15th position while his squad was stripped of the title. His mission will be similar to the previous ones: put Kamaz back on top of the overall ranking. With navigator Igor Leonov (previously with Karginov) and mechanic Ruslan Akhmedeev, he appears to be an outsider but has all the qualities to take over as a leader and potential race winner.
D.S.: “It has been proven for a long time that the most important thing at the Dakar is endurance. It's important to keep up the pace until the finish. We have seen with our own eyes that some of our rivals go flat out right from the start and that's why they often make mistakes. I try to be as calm as possible. Whatever happens on the race -exploded tyres or even the truck rolling- we must be able to forget about it and only have in mind the route that remains to be covered.”