Extreme trip to Lima using MAZ vehicles

The Dakar Rally is a unique competition. Only the strongest and toughest withstand two weeks of extreme desert driving. Over the years, the race has come to symbolise a true test of skill and endurance; even participation is prestigious. This year, Belarusian trucks are taking part for the first time — across Latin America.

Two Belarusian crews, driven by Alexander Vasilevsky and Alexander Polishchuk, are headed for Peru’s capital of Lima. The first race for the test drivers of the Minsk Automobile Works is going rather well compared to last year’s debut for MAZ in the Silk Road race — where the drawbacks of the vehicles became apparent. This time, the better of the two crews, headed by Alexander Polishchuk, finished 61st among 73 trucks in the first section of 14. By the end of the three day event, the crew finished in 42nd place: a fair result.

The first five rounds of the Dakar Rally pass through Argentina, before crossing the Andes (a one-time crossing — unlike previous years) and entering the dunes of the world’s driest desert: Atacama. Rain falls only once every few years. The next five stages cross Chile and Peru — an unexplored part of the route, where sand dunes and mountains may bring unpleasant surprises. The rally ends on January 15th, in Peru’s capital of Lima, where the results will be assessed.
“Our major task is to gauge the competition and assess our own strength, while deciding how to use our vehicles to best advantage,” explains Grigory Patskevich, a member of the team, giving one of his few interviews.

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