“The Dakar remains my priority”
Despite a strong 4th place finish on the 2016 Dakar, Sergei Karyakin has, for quite some time, seen himself moving on to something else and concentrating on SSV vehicles in the company of a co-driver. The Russian raced a Polaris Ranger RZR on the Silk Way Rally in July. The absence of his closest rivals on the upcoming Dakar convinced Sergei that this could be his chance for Dakar glory. The rider from Ekaterinbourg went to work, in his garage and on his machine. He had to completely revise his quad and tested extensively in the Russian snow and at altitude in Kyrgyzstan. At just 24-years of age and in his fourth participation, he is the logical favouite for the win. The three riders who finished ahead of him last year (the Patronelli brothers and Brian Baragwanath) will not be competing.
“The Dakar is certainly the biggest challenge of my life. This will be my fourth Dakar and to be honest, after competing in races in SSV, I was skeptic about my participation. But the Dakar remains my priority. My goal is to win the rally and for some, I am the favourite. Last year, I finished 4th and on the upcoming edition the Patronelli brothers and Baragwanath will not be participating, so I have to do it. I had to design a new quad, the old one simply gave up the ghost. We concentrated on the problems associated with the heat with a larger radiator and an oil re-cooling system. I worked out a lot in the gym. I spent a lot of time in Kyrgyzstan, which is very similar to South America. I trained at 4,200m, which is a perfect preparation for Bolivia.”