“We live Dakar: KamAZ-master pilot Eduard Nikolaev about training before the main race and dreams

- Dakar 2020 will be held for the first time in ten years in a new location: the race was moved from South America to Saudi Arabia. So far, none of the participants knows what awaits us. Success at Dakar, as in any sport, is fortune. Saudi Arabia is famous for its sands. In the past “Dakar” I came across the most difficult sand in my life, I have not seen such dunes yet.

Dunes are always unpredictable, a trap can wait even in a place that is seemingly simple at first glance. In the dunes you can never relax, so the intrigue on the "Dakar 2020" will be from beginning to end. The success of KamAZ-masters depends on piloting, navigation accuracy, and technical reliability of the car. Everything should work out for us, as it happens from year to year.

The main team of strong participants will come to Dakar 2020, everyone is preparing seriously.

Our main rivals are the crew of Gerard de Roy from the Iveco team. The Belarusian team MAZ-SportAvto will drive on the bonnet layout of the car (in bonnet trucks, the engine is not located under the body, but in front, under the hood. - Ed. ), which has already been well tested. The Czech crew, Martin Matsik, who fought a fierce fight with us at the last race, will fight with us a few days before the finish line and made a mistake.

We monitor the success of other riders to keep abreast of innovations.

“We live Dakar: KamAZ-master pilot Eduard Nikolaev about training before the main race and dreams

Photo: Red Bull

“We live Dakar: KamAZ-master pilot Eduard Nikolaev about training before the main race and dreams

Photo: Red Bull

KamAZ also does not stand still. All year we improved our cars: we worked on the suspension, weight distribution ( weight distribution of the car between the front and rear axles. - Note.Ed.

), engine reliability. Tomorrow (The Challenger spoke with Eduard Nikolaev on October 2. - Ed. ) the cars in the final configuration of the Dakar are put forward in Kazakhstan for test runs.

Even with the fastest car, it is impossible to win a race if the physical training of the pilots is poor.

Therefore, all members of our team practice daily in the gym. The mandatory program includes strength training, crossfit training for the development of endurance, a pool. Three times a year, KamAZ-Masters crews train with specialists from the Olympic Center's innovation center. There are alpine stages in races, we prepare in advance for being at a height and perform hypoxic training.

We don’t have special nutrition, each rider knows what is good for him and what is not, and adjusts his diet on his own.

At competitions and during intense training, we support the strength of sports nutrition, vitamins, isotonics.

This year our crews participated in two stages of the Russian championship. The first stage lasts three days and takes place in Astrakhan every year. We love this area very much and never miss the April start, we come as a whole. The track is very interesting, there are sections similar to those that we encounter in the main races: “Dakar” and “Silk Road”.

This year in Astrakhan, our crew took first place. At the race, we not only compete, but test the equipment, “run in” new crews, young mechanics, navigators.

The second stage of the championship was held two weeks ago in Rostov. The track is "field", but interesting. The organizers included difficult swings, hills where special piloting skills are needed.

Not without an accident: the pilot Anton Shabalov did not see a pipe in the grass, because of which the car lay on its side at a speed of 80 km / h. Anton lost consciousness, he and the mechanic got broken ribs. Now the crew is recovering, feeling good, and plans to continue to prepare for the Dakar.

Of course, there is competition within the team. Healthy wrestling is normal.

We are a team and we know that there are borders that cannot be crossed. Any crew with us can be the first, no one "appoints" the winners in advance. Competing with each other at the Dakar, the championship of Russia, the Silk Road, we spur each other and thanks to this we become stronger.

This year I did not participate in the Silk Road race, at that time I was in England. Together with Red Bull we shot an interesting video where I jump over the Lamborgini on the black “bonnet”.

This year, on the Silk Road, our guys fought with the MAZ team, but the strongest won - KamAZ Master took all three first places.

Each Dakar is an experience. “Dakars” do not have lungs - sometimes hard physically, sometimes psychologically. Sometimes the organizers find places for the track that make even experienced riders tense up. The most difficult for me was the Dakar of 2018.

Two days before the finish, we were separated by one second with the Argentinean Federico Villagra. “KamAZ” then won in a difficult battle. The most memorable is “Dakar 2013”, my first victory as a pilot. Before that, I won the race only as a mechanic in the crew of Vladimir Chagin. Now he leads the team.

We live in “Dakar” and are equal to those who won the race more than once. For truck speakers, this is Vladimir Chagin, a seven-time winner of Dakar. I’m still five times - I won four times as a pilot and once as a mechanic. I am going to compete with Vladimir and overtake him in the number of victories. Everything is possible, everything depends only on us.

“We live Dakar: KamAZ-master pilot Eduard Nikolaev about training before the main race and dreams

Photo: Red Bull

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