It was a pleasant surprise to see Kamaz-Mater trucks taking all three spots on the Dakar 2013 podium, says the Russian team’s founder, Semyon Yakubov.
“Of course, we didn’t think it would be possible to sweep the whole podium,” Yakubov told Sportbox.ru. “Taking into account the number of serious drivers, who competed in the Dakar, setting such a task would’ve been simply inappropriate. Our goal was to see at least one of our trucks in the top three.”
“We have to keep in mind that we have pretty young drivers and the most important thing for them was getting the experience and improving their skill. After all, in this crazy marathon even reaching the finish line is an achievement. And maximum concentration and high morale allowed us to exceed the goals we set,” he added.
Top driver Eduard Nikolayev brought Kamaz their 11th Dakar title, with teammates Airat Mardeyev and Andrey Karginov coming second and third, respectively.
“We weren’t that good at the start of the race,” Yakubov explained. “But in that situation it was impossible to demand something supernatural from the guys because this endurance rally goes on under a tremendous emotional pressure. The boys needed time to adapt and they got better and better as time passed.”
The Kamaz founder stressed that appointing seven-time Dakar champion, Vladimir Chagin, as team boss ahead of this year’s event proved its worth.
“Of course, Chagin has made a great contribution into this success,” he said. “Vladimir prepared the guys psychologically, organized their living and worked with the mechanics as well. We had a lot of difficult moments during the race. In particular, we needed to do some complicated repairs, but Chagin managed to succeed. In short, Vladimir showed himself as a mature leader, who worked day and night without closing his eyes.”
A podium sweep was the perfect way for Kamaz to bounce back after the failed Dakar 2012 rally in which the world’s top truck team finished outside the top three.
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