Rally Raid

How Vladimir Chagin aims to help his team win Dakar 2020

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Written by Phil Barker
Running a hugely successful team at the Dakar is no mean feat and Vladimir Chagin's been doing just that for years – along with winning it himself multiple times as well.
There are very few people who understand the Dakar like Kamaz Master team boss Vladimir Chagin. When it comes to desert racing, the man is an absolute legend, having won the Dakar an incredible seven times driving the Kamaz Master truck, before going on to run the team himself.
Knowing exactly what it takes to master the hostile conditions and come out on top, Chagin has been equally successful behind the scenes as he was behind the wheel, enjoying huge success with drivers like Eduard Nikolaev and going on to cement his name in Dakar history.

About the team:

Chagin’s team will be taking four Kamaz Master trucks to the Dakar in January, fielding a formidable driver line-up. With drivers including multiple winners Eduard Nikolaev, Andrey Karginov, Dmitry Sotnikov and Anton Shibalov, Chagin’s rivals will have a tough time getting anywhere near the podium.

Race record:

A seven-time winner as a driver – making him the most successful single category pilot at the Dakar – Chagin has gone on to lead the Dakar as a team boss as well. He heads up the Kamaz Master team, having taken the reigns in 2013, and his drivers have dominated the truck category ever since.

About the vehicles:

Along with some of the Dakar’s most capable drivers, Chagin also has an ace up his sleeve in the Kamaz Master truck, which has won its class at the Dakar an incredible 16 times. 1,150bhp, 9.5 tonnes and a colossal 1,000 litre fuel tank makes this one of the most incredible vehicles at the Dakar. And Chagin has four of them…
A photo of Dakar team boss Vladimir Chagin and driver Eduard Nikolaev in the Kamaz Master
Team boss Vladimir Chagin and driver Eduard Nikolaev in the Kamaz Master

In his words:

Speaking of his success in 2015, Chagin explains: “We’ve had many good moments, but maybe the most satisfying of my career was actually last year, when we finished 1-2-3 in the Dakar and dedicated the win to Ilgizar Mardeev, who had passed away six months earlier. He was at the centre of the origins of our team and the father of Ayrat Mardeev, who won [in 2015]. As for the worst moments, I see them more as opportunities to challenge ourselves."

Chances of success:

There are so many hugely successful people taking part in the Dakar this year that it’s difficult not to throw plaudits around, but even in such outstanding company, there are few as successful as Vladimir Chagin. The rallying mastermind really does know what it takes to win, whether behind the wheel or running a team and, big mechanical issues aside, it’s difficult to see past his drivers taking further podiums in January.