It has long been a tradition for KAMAZ-Master to bring Russia its first big sporting victory in the new year. The dominance of the domestic team in rally raids is a sign of the entire current century, and the next success was already the 18th for it.
However, it is not difficult to see something special in it. The value of Kamaz's achievements is given by the fact that in fact the category of "trucks" is not the territory that foreign rivals absolutely do not care about. Well-known brands-Iveco, MAN, Tatra, MAZ-are constantly trying to prepare a car that feels as comfortable in the sand, off-road, as the one that is prepared in Naberezhnye Chelny, as fast and reliable. Sometimes it comes out to fight, and, as a rule, prizes go to "KAMAZ" in the fight. But now the triumph turned out to be absolute, despite the problems and a huge loss of time even on the starting segment of the "Dakar" of his last year's winner Andrey Karginov. But all the same, the entire podium was occupied by the Russians — the crews of Dmitry Sotnikov, Anton Shibalov and Ayrat Mardeev were on it. This has not happened for quite some time — since 2015. In the previous five years, some kind of reward, even if not the most valuable, necessarily went to one of the Kamaz opponents. The main hero of "Dakar" was 35-year-old Dmitry Sotnikov. He has been in KAMAZ-Master since 2008 and has gone through a fairly typical path for the star of this team. He started as a mechanic, then turned into a pilot, gained experience, won races less prominent than the cult raid, was already second twice on the Dakar itself, and finally everything grew together as it should: this route of 7.6 thousand km Sotnikov overcame without failures.
The most significant event for the world of this raid happened in the class "cars". It was dominated by Frenchman Stephane Peteransel in a Mini. Peteransel is such a cult figure for the rally. For the first time, "Dakar" submitted to him in 1991, when "kamaz-master", in fact, opened the elite level of motorsport for Russia and did not even dream of any hegemony yet. At the time, Peteransel was a motorcyclist. In this category, which is considered the fate of the crazy, he won six Dakar titles, and then changed the two-wheeled class to the main four-wheeled one.
And it turned out that as a car pilot, the Frenchman is also insanely good. His seventh title of the best in the "Dakar" in this category and the 13th in total, he got in 2015, and it seems that it was going to the fact that the damn dozen and everything will be limited. In the end, the age is not even a veteran, but some exorbitant veteran-the sixth decade. But Stefan Peteransel proved that in 55 you can not just reach the finish line of the rally, which is one of the most difficult tests invented by mankind, but also get ahead of everyone on it.
It seems that it was experience that brought Peteransel this title. Of the 12 stages that made up the Dakar route, he took only one. But prudence, coolness, and the ability to avoid mistakes were enough for the Frenchman not to lose the margin of safety, not allowing those who were most dangerous to approach him. Nasser al-Attiyah in the Toyota, the closest of the pursuers, was almost 15 minutes behind Peteransel.
And the Frenchman at the award ceremony, of course, was told that surely in his position, with his status, winning the Dakar is perceived much more calmly than in his younger years. "No," Peteransel smiled, " the emotions, oddly enough, are still the same."