Alexander Zhukov: Dakar – the first serious competition – sets the tone for the year

On Wednesday, January 29, at the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov, the President of the ROC and the IOC member had a meeting with the winners and the participants of the world-famous Dakar rally, which ended triumphantly for the Russian team, not only in the truck category, where KAMAZ-master team won the race for the 12th time.

For the first time in the history of the national motorsport a Russian representative – Sergey Karyakin – took part in Dakar’s Quads division. The debutant covered the whole distance of 9,000 kilometers and even took a historic stage win. Besides that the Russian crew Pavel Loginov – Igor Petenko won the third place in the “light vehicles” category. Konstantin Jiltsov, our illustrious navigator,  won the 6th place in the final classification as part of the international crew on Mini and the Russian crew Vladimir Vasiliev-Vitaly Evtekhov also hit the mark on a similar car.

However the main ornament of Dakar-2014 was certainly the success of KAMAZ. The last stage of the rally, that ended last week, was really exciting. The Dutch crew of Gerard de Rooy – the main competitor of the Russian team in the fight for the top prize — was the first of the trucks to enter the race track, right after the cars. On the 90th kilometer in front of it a Chinese racer Zhou Yong had an accident. The Dutchman drove past the crashed Mini. After that  the track was blocked. The KAMAZ team got into this block.

Andrey Karginov’s crew decided to help the Chinese driver. They managed to put Mini back on the wheels and eliminate the block. However, while doing this, the Russians, of course, lost time, and at the finish it became clear that in the general classification they are more than nine minutes behind their main competitor. However, the Dutch team, has not been a winner for a long time. After the race was finished the organizers of the race returned the Russians the time they spent helping the Chinese team.

“The victory of Andrey Karginov’s crew  in the run-up to the Olympic Games is a great joy for all the fans. We are proud of our athletes who have not only demonstrated their skills, but also the best human qualities”,- the President of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov, congratulated the pilots of the prestigious competition on the triumph.

– The last minutes of the truck category of Dakar rally made our team’s fans feel jittery. Andrey Karginov’s crew, despite its leadership and the finish line proximity, could not go past the overturned car of the Chinese team, while the Dutch team drove over the wheel of the overturned car, and it was, of course, correct that in the end the guys were rewarded for their “fair play”.

The ROC President said that the victory of our pilots in the dramatic ending of the rally-marathon has set a perfect tone for the entire 2014.

“The Sochi Olympic Games will start in ten days, and it’s great that you have set an example of struggle and overcoming difficulties. That is an exmple our athletes need to be guided by at the Olympic Games in Sochi”, – he stressed.

The Leader of KAMAZ-Master team, a seven-time winner of Dakar, Vladimir Chagin confirmed the complexity of the marathon that has just come to an end:

“As the organizers promised  this Dakar has become perhaps the most difficult — considering the total length, the amount of sand, stones and obstacles. The parting words and the instructions of the Russian Olympic Committee before the Dakar helped us to feel responsibility. We could not make it to the first line over half of the race, it seemed that the main prize — the Golden Bedouin — will go to the Netherlands. But our crew did the impossible. The Russian spirit helped us”.

Commenting on the plans for the season, Chagin noted that at the moment the team was waiting for the decision to hold the Silk road rally, which, according to him, was brought up to the Dakar level. “I wish it took place in the second half of July, after the World Football Cup. It would be symbolic if the finish took place in Sochi”, – expressed his wishes Vladimir Chagin.

At the end of the meeting Dakar 2014 winners received ROC commemorative token and diplomas from Alexander Zhukov, and they made commemorative picture.