Sponsors: Craft Bearings, Kärcher, Noker, Viada, Trygg, Shell-Helix, Syngenta, Winwinhttps://www.dakaras.lt/
2017: Rally Kazakhstan (6th)
2016: Rally Kazakhstan (3rd, 1st T2 class)
2011: Baja Poland (2nd, T2 class)
2011: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (6th, 1st in class)
2008: Libya Desert Challenge (1st)
2007: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (7th)
2006: Oman Desert Challenge (2nd)
2005: Pharaohs Rally Egypt (7th)
2005: Optic2000 Tunis (8th)
Lithuanian Rally-Raid Champion (2004)
3 x Lithuanian Trophy-Raid champion (2002, 2003, 2004)
The most successful Dakar competitor to hail from Lithuania, Antanas Juknevičius has been steadily improving in the cars since making his debut back in 2003. Having come 25th in 2009, the first edition on South American soil, the 44-year-old cracked the top 30 again in 2016 and 2017, before storming to his best-ever finish, 12th, a year ago. Along with co-driver Darius Vaičiulis, the Craft Bearings privateer is now openly targeting a place in the top 10. Antanas developed a passion for racing in his early 20s, going on to win multiple Lithuanian championships before discovering the world of rally raid. He is the only driver from his country to have taken part in every FIA World Cup rally over the past decade, although he missed out on the 2018 campaign while waiting for the delivery of a new Toyota Overdrive. Meanwhile, Darius' interest in extreme sport stretches far beyond the Dakar. A dedicated alpinist, he conquered Mount Everest in 2007 and has since climbed the world's seven highest mountains with the exception of K2. In fact, he is heading off on another expedition just before the Dakar! Antanas and Darius are also firm believers in an eco-friendly Dakar, having teamed up with Sweden's ABB Group to fit solar panels to their assistance truck.
"I got into motorsport when I was probably 21 or 22. I felt a deep love for racing, I followed many races and went along to watch them, it was my passion. One day, when I was a graphic designer, I started to earn money and I thought, 'Why don't I buy a car and start racing myself?' So I bought one with my partner, and within three years I was already a Lithuanian champion. I tried different types of racing, trying to find myself and what I liked, and I got really hooked on rally raids. For me it didn't even seem like racing, it was an adventure. Going to interesting countries, exotic places, it had a big impact on me. “It's our dream to be in the top 10. For a small private team, it would be great. I won't hide my ambitions! We're going there to be in the top 10, we'll do everything we can. Lithuania is a small country, so to have three car crews and two bikers is really nice, I'm proud of that. Darius calculated that we had the third-most drivers in the top 20 last year. He's an alpinist and he is only due back from a big climb a week before the Dakar, so fingers crossed that all goes well! We have a truck with solar panels so we never have to start our generators. We're the quietest team in the Dakar, everyone wants to sleep by us on the bivouac! We've applied for an eco-label, it's a great project with ABB. We're proving that you can do the Dakar and be eco-friendly."
Antanas Juknevičius is in a race against time to reach the start of the special before the cut-off time. The 12th-placed finisher on the Dakar 2018 is trying to repair his engine after an error during maintenance which could prove to be costly!
Get exclusive information