Rally squad Kamaz reveals the new truck that it hopes will take them to a 14th victory on the Dakar Rally, which runs through some of the most inhospitable terrain in South America.
Unlike the trucks that have gone before it, this latest Kamaz Master, based on the Kamaz-4326 chassis, has a long cab with a prominent bonnet. And this will allow it to stay at the cutting-edge of the technological arms race that characterises the closely fought truck category in the Dakar.
The new truck project was revealed a year ago for the very first time, but it has only recently had its competition debut, at a rally in Russia’s Rally Raid Gold Cup of Kagan. The intervening time has been spent turning it into a winning machine that is capable of taking on the toughest rally in the world, which gets away once more next January.
Giving the new truck its debut in Russia was Eduard Nikolaev: a two-time Dakar winner with Kamaz, who has finished on the podium an additional five times with the Russian marque. Rather than its usual prominent blue and white livery, the new Kamaz ran in Russia with an interim black Red Bull ‘stealth livery’: as also seen in Formula 1 tests.
Team leader Vladimir Chagin explained: “Throughout our history, our team has always sought to come up with the best, most reliable and competitive trucks, which meet the ever-changing requirements of this fascinating sport. We’re now at the dawn of a new era of race trucks: cab trucks demonstrate a number of technical benefits, and an important goal for us this season is to innovate as much as possible. We’ve got high hopes for our new cab truck, and the stealth Red Bull livery is a visual demonstration of just how much we’re pushing the cutting edge of technology.”
While the truck is brand new, its awesome performance is familiar. The Kamaz Master ‘Kapotnik’, as it’s called, still maintains four wheel drive while a brand new 12.5-litre diesel engine propels its to speeds in excess of 160kph, on more or less any surface.
Putting the 980-horsepower on the ground is a 16-speed ZF transmission. In the belly of the beast is a 1000-litre fuel tank, which enables it to keep going all day – and much of the night.