N°312 Car INBANK TEAM PITLANE

BENEDIKTAS VANAGAS

(ltu) Born on 16/03/1977 1.73m / 86kg

Sponsors

Inbank, Toyota, STIHL, Scandagra, Vostok Europe, Vikonda, SnapOn, Audimas

Website

2019: 11th
2018: 30th
2017: Ab.
2016: 26th
2015: 24th
2014: 35th
2013: 65th

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 have to be in the top 10”

Five seconds. That was the gap separating Benediktas Vanagas and Sebastian Rozwadowski from 10th place in the cars at Dakar 2019, after 10 days and 3,000 kilometres of battling through the Peruvian desert. Pipped to a place in the top 10 by French duo Ronan Chabot and Gilles Pillot, Benediktas nevertheless claimed the best-ever finish for a driver from the Baltic states, 11th, comfortably improving his personal best of 24th from 2015. For this new-look Dakar in Saudi Arabia, the Team Pitlane duo are back in their eye-catching black Toyota Hilux Overdrive, determined to go one better than last year. Benediktas has been a consistent performer on the Dakar since making his debut in 2013, reaching the finish line in all but one of his seven participations. The 42-year-old entrepreneur started racing in his late teens and has spent over twenty years competing in offroad and rally events. This year, he took part in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas with Bartolomiej Boba, claiming top-five finishes in Russia and Dubai, and coming in -would you believe it- 11th overall. Benediktas is looking forward to tackling the first Dakar in Saudi Arabia, although he has stressed in the past that success on the world's toughest rally often comes down to using your head and racing intelligently. He is certainly expecting one or two surprises in this 42nd edition.

"Last year we achieved the best result ever in the Baltics, position number 11. But we had several stages where we lost an hour or two, and we missed out on 10th place by just five seconds! You do 3,000 kilometres of stages and you're just five seconds off 10th place, it's unbelievable. But that's how it goes. I think we have to be in the top 10. This year, we will absolutely do our best to get another record. I think we're in a much better situation, so we'll see how it goes. We've been extremely busy this year doing the World Cup for Bajas, in Russia, Dubai, Italy, Spain, Poland. In general we've done a good job, we've certainly done a lot of kilometres. I'm looking forward to the Dakar in Saudi Arabia. At least it will be interesting! After 11 years in South America we were familiar with that race, we knew what to expect. Now we will have different tracks, different geography, different culture. So we're really looking forward to it. I suppose I'll be able to describe what Saudi Arabia is like after the finish -because at the moment I'm still lacking info about the tracks and what the road will be like. Everyone who has read the 1001 Arabian Nights will be expecting sand, but there may not be as much sand as people think. It could be different terrain, rocky and so on, which worries us a bit. The car is exactly the same as last year, it's our second Dakar with the same car. We have three weeks until it leaves from Marseille, so things are hotting up! It's the same as landing from a plane with a parachute; when you jump out, you see a nice view, but when you have 100 metres left, you realise how fast you're going towards the ground!"

Vehicle

INBANK TEAM PITLANE

  • Mark : TOYOTA
  • Model : HILUX
  • Performance tuner : Gazoo Racing/Overdrive
  • Assistance : Inbank Team Pitlane
  • Class : T1.1 petrol modified A-T 4x4

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