N°830 Classic HESTON AIRLINES

VALDAS VALIUKEVICIUS

(ltu) 1.82m / 100kg

Aficiones

Motorsport, cycling, travel, skiing, film, reading and writing books

Sponsors

Heston Airlines, SetnaiO, Premiumauto, Elio draudimas, Mototoja, Mfilter, 911 garazas, Autoakste, DNRreklama, Auto Bild

2003: 53rd

5 times prize winner in 1000 km circuit race Palanga, Lithuania

Interview

“The car wasn’t in great condition”

This isn’t the first Dakar for Valdas Valiukevicus but it’s been a while. He made his debut in 2000 as a journalist before coming back as a co-driver in 2002 and 2003. And he thought that would probably be the end of his Dakar career, until while watching the 2021 Dakar he saw images of the Dakar Classic and calculated that the budget wasn’t beyond his reach. After that it was just a small matter of finding a co-driver and a car. The co-driver wasn’t too difficult, he just had to convince his friend Paulius Kavaliauskas to take a little time off from running his aviation business -fortunately January is a quiet month for Heston Airlines. Finding the car was a little more complicated. Like a lot of Dakar Classic competitors, Valdas thought a Toyota would be a good option because they are simple and solid and there’s a fair few around. Potential candidates from all over Europe were considered but eventually they found their ideal vehicle in a museum back home in Lithuania. With a rich Dakar history, the car’s provenance, so important in classic car competition, was just too good to be true. The actually condition of the car was slightly less ideal and took considerable amounts of time and money to get back up to scratch.

“We don’t know the exact history of the car. We know it was prepared for the Dakar in France and first entered in the event in 1988. It then passed through the hands of several different French competitors before being entered on the 1998 Dakar by Lithuanians Romualdas Beresnevicius and Arunas Salkauskas, who in 2000 became the first from that country to get the very same car on to the Dakar finish podium. Despite its history we didn’t actually pay too much for the car because it wasn’t in great condition. The chassis was rotten so we had to separate it from the body, sandblast it and then patch up all the holes that suddenly became visible. The plastic bodywork was also in a bad state and not at all easy to repair. In addition the engine and gearbox have been completely rebuilt and new suspension and wheels fitted. Basically it is a new car. My co-driver Paulius doesn’t have much co-driving experience but he knows about navigation due to his involvement in the aviation industry. This summer we did some cross country races in preparation so I think we should be fine on that score. As far as results are concerned I think about 50 of the cars entered will be driven by people with a lot of regularity experience and they are going to be tough competition. We obviously don’t want to finish last but mid-pack would be ok.”

Vehículo

HESTON AIRLINES

TOYOTA BJ71
HESTON AIRLINES

  • TOYOTA
  • BJ71
  • a Baja 86-96

Clasificación 2022

Síguenos

Recibe información exclusiva del Dakar