N°219 Car TOYOTA GAZOO RACING BALTICS

BENEDIKTAS VANAGAS

(ltu) 1.73m / 86kg

Hobbies

Chess, badminton

Sponsors

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, STIHL, Scandagra, Trelo, Toyota Baltic, Vostok Europe, Xiaomi, Audimas, Vikonda, Sandtler, Think Pad, Skaylink, Snap On Business Solutions

2021: 12th
2020: 15th
2019: 11th
2018: 30th
2017: Ab.
2016: 26th
2015: 24th
2014: 35th

2021: Baja Poland (3rd), Italian baja (3rd)
2019: Baja Russia (3rd), Dubai International Baja (5th)
2018: Winter Rally (1st)
2017: FIA Baltic Rally Trophy (1st)
2016: Palanga 1000km Race (1st)
2015: Italian Baja (6th)
2013: Palanga 1000km Race (1st)
2012: Palanga 1000km Race (2nd, qualifying), Lithuania Rally Championship (3rd N4 class), Rally Sweden WRC (4th N4 class)
2010: Silk Way Rally (7th, 1 stage win), Ladoga Trophy (2nd TR1 class, 7 stage wins)
2009: Silk Way Rally (8th), Ladoga Trophy (2nd TR1 class, 3 stage wins)

Interview

“We all know the Dakar is an ultra-marathon”

Benediktas Vanagas and Filipe Palmeiro will definitely be a pair to watch as they try to mix it up with the best car crews at Dakar 2022. Benediktas has been flirting with the top 10 for several years now, missing out by just five seconds (!) at Dakar 2019 and staying inside the top 15 with Filipe at the last two editions. The Lithuanian rally driver still holds the all-time Baltic record thanks to his 11th place three years ago, and now dreams of going a step further in his tenth Dakar participation. Filipe will be lining up for the 17th time -having already cracked the top 10 with three different drivers- so between them, the duo boast a wealth of experience on the world's toughest rally. Benediktas knows all too well that consistency is the name of the game, and had it not been for various mechanical issues in previous editions, he would probably already have that top-10 finish on his CV. The 44-year-old has been racing since he was a teenager and got a first taste of cross-country at the Silk Way Rally in 2009. He signed up for his maiden Dakar in 2013 and has steadily improved over the years, to the point where he now has factory support from Toyota Gazoo Racing, competing as their regional Baltics team. After Dakar 2021, Benediktas was forced to undergo several surgeries on his wrist and shoulder, which kept him out of action for over six months. However, he returned with impressive podium finishes at FIA World Cup Bajas in Poland and Italy, which he modestly described as a “reasonable comeback”. A proud ambassador for the Lithuanian Armed Forces, Benediktas is one of his country's biggest driving talents -and winner of the national ‘Steering Wheel of the Year’ award in 2020- so don’t be surprised if he sets a new benchmark for the Baltics at Dakar 2022.

B.V.: “Time flies. I remember our first five-year plan for Dakar, and now we're approaching our 10th! It's unbelievable. Ten is a nice, symbolic figure. It's also proof that you've had a chance to get some life and sporting experience. When I first entered the Dakar, I was much faster (laughs). We all know the Dakar is an ultra-marathon. There's not a big difference in how fast you go for the first 50 kilometres; you need to have good results after 4,500 kilometres of special stages. There is only one method which works: consistent speed throughout the whole rally. The Dakar is for grown up and mature personalities. Young people might be faster over the first 100 kilometres, but you need life experience to be able to measure risks and still go at high speed. Without technical issues, I know we would be even more consistent. This is the start of my third season with Filipe, we have an agreement for the whole of 2022. Filipe is a top professional with a number of Dakar starts for one of the best teams [X-raid]. He brings us lots of experience. He's also a really nice guy and already a friend of mine. We are ready to be in the top 10. You can't compare one Dakar to another, all of them are different. But, yes, we're aiming for 10th place or higher. Dakar 2022 looks like it will be one of the most competitive editions, but we enjoy that. Like real sportsmen and women, we love to fight when there is lots of competition.”

Vehicle

TOYOTA GAZOO RACING BALTICS

TOYOTA HILUX
TOYOTA GAZOO RACING BALTICS

  • TOYOTA
  • HILUX
  • Gazoo Racing/Overdrive
  • Toyota Gazoo Racing Baltics
  • 4×4 Petrol and Diesel

Ranking 2022

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