MAZ goes to Argentina
Last January, MAZ red trucks, adorned by an auroch on each side, conquered one of the most complicated summits in its history
Sergey’s head isn’t turned by the romanticism of the desert or the status of joining the world’s motor sport elite. Rather, he wants to prove himself through action. He tells us, “We’re realistic about our abilities but believe we can claim a top place at Dakar. Success is based on many factors and relies upon steady performance.”
In the past, MAZ vehicles had some problems regarding reliability and control, with each team initially doing well, but ending with a collision on the track. They drove with intensity, pinning hopes on a miracle. Now, they are focusing on the steady, long-game.
The head of the team Valery Kozlovsky is convinced that the new track will help, as the Chilean stages are being omitted. “The race will start with a time trial to decide starting places, and most of the track will resemble a classical rally rather than impassable desert. There will be sections of sand but these will be easier, so we’re less likely to become lost! Sergey Vyazovich is the rally champion of Belarus and sandy sections have always been our forte, so this should help us.”
This time, Minsk’s team has been training a great deal, and has been fine-tuning its MAZ lorries and a new truck, to be driven by Vladimir Vasilevsky as an accompanying vehicle. Dakar’s new regulations will force all racers to use new trucks next season, and MAZ plans to be prepared. Meanwhile, 25 of the 30 MAZ team members have previous experience of the extreme Dakar conditions, going some way to explaining Mr. Kozlovsky’s optimism. He emphasises, “I have no doubt of our guys’ reliability; all are prepared. Right up until the last day, we were having night-time training sessions at Minsk-Arena, using its ‘mountain conditions’.
In Bolivia, the race will be held at a height of 4,000-4,500 metres for some days, which can bring on hypoxia (altitude sickness).
By Yegor Glebov