VLADAS JURKEVICIUS(ltu) 1.92m / 80kg
Cycling (road cycling & MTB), rally
2023: Lithuanian Rally Championship (1st Rally2, 2nd AWD)
2022: Lithuanian Rally Championship (2nd AWD), Latvian Rally Championship (1st Rally2), ERC Rally Poland (39th), ERC Rally Latvia (26th)
2021: WRC Rally Estonia (19th), WRC Rally Finland (40th)
2020: WRC Rally Estonia (40th)
Rally driver since 2016. Around 80 rallies in total, the last 36 with a Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo
“All the stars aligned perfectly”
Despite having no experience in rally-raid, Vladas Jurkevicius is preparing to dive in at the deep end and tackle the sport’s biggest event at Dakar 2024. The 31-year-old entrepreneur from Lithuania has been competing in standard rallying since his mid-20s, emerging as one of the country’s most talented drivers and winning the national Rally2 championship in 2023. It was actually an unfortunate accident midway through the season that led to him entering the Dakar. Having suffered a nasty hand injury in late July, Vladas got in touch with seasoned Dakar competitor Benediktas Vanagas, who completed Dakar 2015 despite spending a week with four broken bones in his left wrist. Benediktas introduced him to a surgeon, and they happened to get talking about the Dakar. Before he knew it, Vladas was signing up for this 46th edition, where he will be running under his own banner with service provided by Benediktas’ Toyota Gazoo Racing Baltics team. Though he will barely have had a chance to test his Toyota Hilux T1+ (“Black Hawk VII”) before the rally begins, Vladas can at least rely on the previous experience of his co-driver Aisvydas Paliukenas, who has done two editions of the Dakar with Edvinas Juskauskas. Vladas and Aisvydas have already been competing together in rally for four years, so communication certainly won’t be a problem as they prepare for a baptism of fire in Saudi Arabia.
V.J.: “I don't have any family members or friends who do any kind of motorsport. When I was a kid, there was rally in the region where my grandparents lived. It looked crazy how they were driving, especially at night. So I fell in love with it as a child, but it was only seven or eight years ago that I decided to learn a bit more about it. I had no connections, nobody who knew anything about motorsport, so I contacted our federation. They introduced me to a coach, and it went from there: learning how it all works, pace notes, time controls, the basic rules. This summer I had an accident at Rally Rokiskis, where I broke my hand, two of my ribs and four vertebrae. It was quite a serious injury! The rally and rally-raid community in Lithuania is quite small, so I knew Benediktas, and I knew he’d had hand injuries in the Dakar. He introduced me to a surgeon, and we started speaking about the Dakar. That injury was a catalyst for my meeting Benediktas, who told me he had an opportunity to bring two cars to Dakar this year, if I was interested. My wife is a doctor and she'll be working abroad at the start of 2024. We don't have any kids, the business is doing well, so if I don't do it now, when will be a better time? I wanted to do Dakar at some point and all the stars aligned perfectly. Aisvydas has been my rally co-driver for four years. We’re good friends, we get on very well. This will be his third Dakar, so he has some experience. So I'm not worrying about it too much. The goal is to see the Dakar from the inside, learn as much about it as possible."
A.P.: “It feels great to be making my comeback! It’s always a pleasure to work with a professional team, especially one with such a great atmosphere. I’m really looking forward to this challenge. Vladas and I are good friends outside rallying as well, sharing experiences and mutual respect for each other's skills on and off the track. For us, a successful Dakar would mean reaching the finish podium in Yanbu."
Eldorado x Humbility Sports
ELDORADO X HUMBILITY SPORTS
- Mark TOYOTA
- Model HILUX
- Performance tuner Gazoo Racing/Overdrive
- Assistance Toyota Gazoo Racing Baltics
- Class T1+: Prototype Cross-Country Cars 4x4
Get exclusive information