Kamaz-Master, the most successful truck team in the rallying world, has confirmed that it will take part in this year’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the first time since 2008. The Russian team has previously conquered the Western Region’s stunning dunes on its way to recording over 10 victories in the prestigious Desert Challenge, and is determined to add another title to this unparalleled record.
“Kamaz-Master’s return to the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge will give spectators something incredible to remember,” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, president of the Automobile and Touring Club for the UAE (ATCUAE) and vice-president of the FIA. “The sight of these massive 12-tonne trucks bounding across the spectacular, rolling Liwa dunes is truly unlike anything else.
“Kamaz-Master are the very best at what they do, and the team’s presence reflects the calibre of the competitors participating in this year’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. The participation of three Kamaz trucks in this year’s event emphasises the importance of the United Arab Emirates in the field of rallying.”
The team will race 4×4 sport-trucks that are powered by 17.2-litre V8 turbo-diesel engines, capable of producing 730 bhp. This enables them to reach top speeds of at least 165 km/h, which can be done on almost any terrain. Kamaz-Master claims that these trucks can be operated in the most extreme conditions, from temperatures of -30°C to 50°C. The trucks are so tough that the Russian army uses fortified versions of them for cargo transport to inhospitable locations.
The Kamaz-Master team comprises a number of Russian rallying greats among the nine participants in the three trucks. Driving one of the trucks will be Eduard Nikolaev, who won the Desert Challenge in 2005 as part of Vladimir Chagin’s crew, and who finished 3rd in the class in the 2011 Dakar Rally. Mechanic Ilgizar Mardeev, who drove to a 4th place in this year’s Dakar Rally, will be on-board alongside his son Ayrat in Abu Dhabi.
Renowned mechanic Andrey Mokeev, who has contributed to many of the team’s cross-country rally victories, including Dakar Rally victories in 2005 and 2009 and victory in the Silk Way Rally in 2009, will also be making a return to the Desert Challenge. Previous competitors who have represented the team in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge include the current President of the Republic of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, who has claimed the title six times.
The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is organised by the Automobile and Touring Club of United Arab Emirates (ATCUAE) under the title sponsorship of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), and is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region. It will take place from April 1-7 and consists of four categories: bikes, quads, cars and trucks.
The 2011 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is backed by a high-profile line-up of sponsors and supporters that includes Al Gharbia, ADNOC, Rotana – Yas Island, Al Ain Water, TAG Heuer, Explorer, Fed Ex and Nissan ? the all-terrain Nissan Patrol, dubbed ‘The Hero of All Terrain’, is the official vehicle of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Meanwhile, a landmark partnership with Eurosport TV will see daily global broadcasts of all the 2011 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge action.