The KAMAZ-Master team has won the Silk Way Rally this year taking the first and second place in the truck division.
KAMAZ-Master is a Russian car racing team from Naberezhnye Chelny competing in KAMAZ trucks. The team was set up in 1988. KAMAZ-Master drivers won the Silk Way Rally in 2009, 2010 and 2012. In addition, the team is a 13-time winner of the Dakar Rally (Paris – Dakar).
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,
I am happy to welcome you to Moscow, to the Kremlin, and to congratulate you on your strong victory in such a tough competition as the Silk Way Rally. Did you win the first two places?
Remark: Yes, we did.
Vladimir Putin: It is fascinating that this is the first time you have employed the mixed crew format of cooperation and competition. One of the vehicles had a crew made up of Russian and Chinese racers. This is also a very good sign, of course.
Judging by what I saw and read, the Silk Way Rally turned out to be even more difficult that the Paris – Dakar. The vehicles were faultless, as much as it is possible. I saw that there were a number of hard situations on the track.
I sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, congratulate you and wish you new success.
Will you please tell me your thoughts about the race? What do you think of the track and the vehicles?
Vladimir Chagin: If I may, I will say a few words. Mr President, first of all, we are grateful to you for finding the time to meet with us despite your extremely busy schedule. Your appreciation of our work, our efforts and results is very important to us.
We are very happy that this year the KAMAZ-Master team did not disappoint its fans and partners: we won the first and second places. And, of course, it has a special significance to us that we managed to complete a race on such a long route embracing two continents and three countries.
You will remember that the previous five Silk Way races, which were held from 2009 to 2013, ran on Russian territory. We are very grateful to you for supporting the route Mr Miller [Gazprom CEO] stretched to the east, saying let us have more, let us go bigger.
The territory of Kazakhstan and China are excellent for the rally. This is not just a sports event; the race has a geopolitical significance. We have had good administrative support all the way – both in Kazakhstan and in China. The three nations’ governments gave us all the necessary assistance, and within a few months a tremendous amount of work had been completed on the organisation of the project. Everything went well.
The participants in the race are very pleased. Over 40 countries and 125 crews toed the starting line on Red Square. The world’s leading rally raid crews took part in trucks and cars. All were under a very good, positive impression and are preparing for next year.
Russia has always attracted travellers and tourists, and, of course, contests like rally raids combine sport, tourism and travel. These people were highly impressed by the diversity of routes, because at first it was Russia and its forest and steppe expanses, next came Kazakhstan’s steppes, and then China’s sandhills. Dakar lacks the diversity you have mentioned.
Vladimir Putin: How many kilometres was the route?
Vladimir Chagin: 10,700 kilometres, two weeks. We started off on Red Square.
Vladimir Putin: And Paris–Dakar – how many kilometres?
Vladimir Chagin: Eight or nine thousand.
Vladimir Putin: That route is shorter than the one here, isn’t it?
Vladimir Chagin: Yes, it is shorter. It runs through four South American countries: Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, and Paraguay will be added this year. Our route was even more packed and difficult. Of course, there are those who failed to make it to the finish line. But those who did will talk about having done the Silk Road for the rest of their lives.
Vladimir Putin: What about you, guys, did you like it? How did the vehicles perform? Do tell me.
Airat Mardeyev: Yes, the race was very interesting indeed. The Silk Way is a real rally raid. While Dakar is more like a classic rally – there are many winding and rapid routes, but the Silk Way has taken in what is lacking in Dakar: sands, mud-locked roads and winding routes, too. All routes are very interesting, and special stretches are very long. Cold weather alternated with hot weather – this race had a bit of everything.
The vehicles performed very well; we had practically no technical problems and, in principle, this is what influenced our result: we won the top two positions. The vehicles performed very well.
Vladimir Putin: Does the plant analyse how the vehicles perform in such an extreme environment?
KAMAZ Director General Sergei Kogogin: Of course, we do.
After a certain cycle that a vehicle completes during a race, we use this on production vehicles. These are mostly special elements: parts of the suspension, engine boost… We take all that into consideration because we need both power and reliability at the same time.
Vladimir Putin: A testing ground like this cannot be invented on purpose, can it?
Sergei Kogogin: You cannot invent anything better. Now we are facing difficult tasks. We are planning to make a new engine and a new vehicle. This is also a technical challenge for designers, crews and KAMAZ as a whole.
Sergei Savostin: A race is a final product – just two weeks that cap off a huge amount of work involving the whole of KAMAZ. The plant is engaged in a lot of work, too, and this is why the crews are doing so well.
Vladimir Chagin: Not only KAMAZ. We place orders all over the country.