(ltu) 1.73m / 86kg


Chess, badminton


Toyota, Gurtam, Stihl, Scandagra, Trelo, Baltijos Plienas, Vostok Europe, Skaylink, Lenovo, Wellman, Mechanix Wear, Vikonda, Sandtler, Snap On Business Solutions, Jung, Litilit

2023: Ab. Stage 4
2022: Ab. Stage 5
2021: 12th
2020: 15th
2019: 11th
2018: 30th
2017: Ab.
2016: 26th
2015: 24th
2014: 35th
2013: 65th

2023: Baja TT Extremadura (6th) / Rally Greece Offroad (Ab.) / Hungarian Baja (Ab.)
2022: Italian Baja / Hungarian Baja (1st) / Baja Poland
2021: Baja Poland (3rd) / Italian Baja (3rd)
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)


“The knight power is coming back!”

Benediktas Vanagas has become a familiar face on the Dakar over the past decade, especially when it comes to representing rally-obsessed Lithuania in the cars. The charismatic 46-year-old has been racing since he was a teenager, developing a passion for offroad events and making his cross-country debut at the Silk Way Rally in 2009. That naturally led him to the Dakar in 2013, and he has taken part in every edition since. Having come 65th on his debut, Benediktas soon established himself as a consistent top-30 finisher, reaching the finish line in all but one Dakar on South American soil. But it was the 2019 edition in Peru that really showcased his potential. Driving his signature jet-black Toyota Hilux featuring a white knight -nicknamed ‘Black Hawk’- the Lithuanian entrepreneur took a brilliant 11th place overall, finishing just five seconds (!) outside the top 10. Cracking that top 10 has become a major objective, and the prospect is sweetened by the potential to make history, for no Baltic driver has ever done it before in the cars. However, Benediktas knows all too well that it's never that simple on the Dakar. After two promising outings in 2020 (15th) and 2021 (12th), he abandoned Dakar 2022 in spectacular fashion after a huge crash on Stage 4. Luckily, there was no major damage done to either Benediktas or co-driver Filipe Palmeiro. In 2023 he returned with a new wingman, Kuldar Sikk, but their adventure was cut short after another big impact on Stage 4, with Benediktas forced to withdraw following a medical assessment. After a couple of frustrating outings, the principal objective for Toyota Gazoo Racing Baltics is to get their new car, Black Hawk VIII, to the finish line of Dakar 2024. Benediktas will also be welcoming newcomer Vladas Jurkevicius into the team. An accomplished driver who is currently Lithuania’s Rally2 champion, Vladas came to consult Benediktas about a wrist injury and ended up being talked into doing his first Dakar. A soldier in the Lithuanian army, Benediktas is ready to return to the Dakar trenches, and could well be celebrating something special if he makes it through the no man's land of the Saudi wilderness.

B.V.: “I've had two Dakars in a row without finishing. But I am fully recovered and ready for Dakar. We've been working hard all year. We’ll have a new car, with two Toyota turbo cars in the team, and a new service truck. The knight power is coming back! The more crews you have, the more challenges you have, in one respect. It's like a family here. I knew Vladas before, but not personally. Then this summer he broke his wrist, and everybody in Lithuania knows me as a specialist in doctors after my problems at Dakar 2015, when I spent a week with four broken bones in my left wrist. Vladas and I had a chat, and you know how it ended up. I still believe Kuldar will be one of the best co-drivers in the Dakar very soon. He is a great guy, his psychological skills in the team and crew are absolutely fantastic. This year we did the European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, our goal was to win the title. A few mistakes didn’t get us to that target, but never mind. Anyway, everything we do throughout the year is for the Dakar. Let it be difficult in practice, but in the war it will be fine! I don’t talk about results. The major thing is that we have to finish. Nobody from the Baltics has claimed a top 10 in the heavyweight Ultimate category. We were five seconds off it some years ago. We need at least to go into this top 10, even if I think we can do better. But let’s talk about that on the evening of 19 January!"

K.S.: “I really liked my first experience of the Dakar last year. Unfortunately, it ended too early, but the emotions I felt were great. I learned a lot, and the most valuable thing was maybe that you have to stay calm but focused. Our objective for Dakar 2024 is to reach the finish. Benediktas and I also had fun during the 2023 season participating in the European Bajas Cup. We did Baja Extremadura in Spain, Baja Greece and the Hungarian Baja. We had some technical issues and an off in Greece, which wasn't so nice. But it was still good preparation for the team, and we got some valuable seat time.”




  • Gazoo Racing/Overdrive
  • Toyota Gazoo Racing Baltics
  • T1+ : Voitures Tout-terrain Prototypes 4x4

Classement 2024

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