N°320 Coches INBANK TOYOTA GAZOO RACING BALTICS

BENEDIKTAS VANAGAS

(ltu) 1.73m / 86kg

Aficiones

Chess, badminton

Sponsors

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

2020: 15th
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 could end up with two Lithuanians in the top 10”

Benediktas Vanagas continues to go from strength to strength on the world's toughest rally. The Lithuanian entrepreneur has been a consistent performer in the cars since his debut in 2013, and now he's determined to crack the top 10 for the first time at Dakar 2021. The 43-year-old says there's a decent chance he could be joined at the sharp end of the standings by one of his compatriots, with no fewer than five Lithuanian drivers lining up in the cars. In 2019, Benediktas and his long-time co-driver Sebastian Rozwadowski came agonisingly close to the top 10, finishing just five seconds (!) down on French pair Ronan Chabot and Gilles Pillot. Their 11th place was nevertheless a new record for a driver from the Baltic states. A year ago, Sebastian was forced out at the last minute with illness, but Benediktas was luckily able to team up with experienced Portuguese co-driver Filipe Palmeiro, who has enjoyed plenty of success since his Dakar debut back in 2005. The duo return in 2021 as part of the Toyota Gazoo Racing setup, getting behind the wheel of an all-new Toyota Hilux with the regional Baltics wing. Not only that, they will have the support of teammates Edvinas Juskauskas and Aisvydas Paliukenas, who will be racing 'Black Hawk V' -the car in which Benediktas did the last two editions of the Dakar. The Vilnius-born CEO began racing in his late teens, and his first offroad event was the 2009 Silk Way Rally. Since then he has built up quite the CV in rally raid and become a force to be reckoned with on the Dakar. Admittedly, he hasn't had much preparation in 2020 -making two zero car outings in Lithuania and showing off the new Toyota Yaris GR-4 at WRC Rally Estonia- but he and Filipe are definitely a duo to keep an eye on during this 43rd edition.

BV: "It was a tough year for everyone in terms of racing, there were far fewer rallies. I did some kilometres, but this year was the smallest mileage of the past 15 years. So I have the feeling people are hungry and thirsty for Dakar! That's certainly the case for me. But throughout my career, the best moments have often come in the most difficult years. In 2020 we became part of Toyota Gazoo Racing, as the regional Baltics team, and we have a new specification car. And this all happened during a terrible year. So it gives us good tools to perform in Dakar. The only small thing -which is actually a very big thing- is to avoid serious mistakes, and that's not easy. We're pretty sure that Sebastian was one of the first Europeans to get Covid-19. He called us three days before the departure last year and said he wouldn't be able to go to Dakar. So we quickly made a deal with X-Raid and Filipe. And towards the end of this year we signed a contract with him not only for Dakar, but for the full 2021 season. Filipe's experience, knowledge and know-how are very welcome to the team. And we appreciate him joining us after 9-10 years with a factory team. It tells us that we're not doing a bad job at all!
Our goal for sure is top 10, and maybe even higher than that. But you know what, I will say top 10 and leave it at that. We want to get the best possible result. If you calculate the number of Dakar participants for each nation per capita, I'm pretty sure we are the winners. Lithuania has a population of under 3 million people, and we have seven participants, including five in the cars. I'm happy that rally raid is getting so popular in Lithuania. Everyone knows about Dakar, people are interested. The guy with the biggest potential is Vaidotas [Zala]. He's young, which is his strength and weakness at the same time. But the way he's developing and making decisions is just great. I think it's really possible that we could end up with two Lithuanians in the top 10.”

Vehículo

INBANK TOYOTA GAZOO RACING BALTICS

  • Marca : TOYOTA
  • Modelo : HILUX
  • Preparador : Gazoo Racing/Overdrive
  • Asistencia : Inbank Toyota Gazoo Racing Baltics
  • Clase : T1.1 4x4 TT modificados gasolina

Clasificación 2021

Scratch Etapa General
0 20 20 20
1 32 32 32
2 15 15 24
3 16 16 21
4 20 20 21
5 19 19 16
6 11 11 13
7 17 17 11
8 18 18 12
9 9 9 12
10 11 11 11
11 14 14 12
12 20 20 12

Toute l'actualité de B. Vanagas

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