Silver medalist of “Dakar-2017” Dmitry Sotnikov in an exclusive interview told about the peculiarities of “KAMAZ”, which will hold the upcoming rally RAID, which starts on 6 January in Peru.
The centurions will be the sole driver of the “KAMAZ-Master”, who will speak on the truck with 13-litre inline engine, adapted to rules 2019 and, despite the victory at the “Silk way” in July of this year, configured carefully.
The same question I asked Eduard Nikolaev. In Formula 1 often compare the influence of the machine and the pilot. There the proportion of 80 to 20. You can note the proportion of car/crew ratio and crew between driver, Navigator and mechanic?
Dmitry Sotnikov: I can only note that 50 on 50. One there’s nothing I can do. We can add that 50% is the whole team that builds the car. The crew already does a good job at achieving results in the race. In the crew of three must be divided. The mechanic is responsible for the technical condition and preparation of the car every day. The Navigator and the pilot, in my opinion, generally the defining bundle. How well they understand each other, depends on the gains over time. In the last races I felt how experienced the Navigator helps you to play minutes, seconds. It all depends on the teamwork of the crew. A mechanic, for example, must be time to lower the tire pressure, to monitor the temperature and adjusting the brakes. All of this must be accurately and timely. It is therefore important that the work was included the entire crew, otherwise the result will be.
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On Silk road you were on new modifications of the machine and go on it “Dakar”. Tell us what is the main difference from the previous car…
Dmitry Sotnikov: of Course, the main difference – displacement engine. 13-liter inline engine and not V-shaped. Under this power unit had to build a new car. Chassis something similar to the previous one, but slightly changed the weight distribution, the location of the cabin, the engine is mounted a little differently, changed the layout of the intercooler. Externally, slightly noticeable that the car is different.
Management this you like this one more than the previous?
Dmitry Sotnikov: They are a little different, different in nature management. So you need to adapt. In any case, it is our future, we all have to go on this motor. But the work continues, we are always the last to try to squeeze the maximum. After each race you have to reconsider a lot of things to analyze and look for a new direction. Not to say that a new car I like more than the previous. She just rides differently and can go very quickly, and that’s the main indicator.
On what basis you chose for the new machine?
Dmitry Sotnikov: This question is always openly discussed. Solves Vladimir G. [Chagin]. It so happened that on last “Dakar” we were driving in the car of Andrey Karginov who went to the “Africa Eco race”. My car was like an older modification. So I didn’t have a permanent car. It was the first factor. The second factor was the fact that my Navigator Ruslan Akhmadeev engineer for the preparation of the engines, just directly involved in the development of a new engine as no one else knows the new modification. I honestly also studied and graduated from the specialty “internal combustion Engines”. So we had this role – testing, tuning, debugging, adaptation engine in the new car.
Victory in the “Silk road” objectively shows that the new car is stronger than the previous one?
Dmitry Sotnikov: In my opinion, the main factor that this machine is competitive. We need to understand whether we will be able to speak at this car in the “Dakar”. This result entitles us to believe that we can fight. I want to say that the fight was equal. Somewhere the new machine was faster, it has its disadvantages and advantages. We even try to get close to where it is today. That is not all so smoothly and successfully passes. It was a lot of work done. Almost immediately after the “silk road” we had tests. We changed the turbine, there were many options of solutions we were looking for to the last. It’s a different car compared to the “Silk road”, including another motor – brand new, reconfigured. Hopefully, the “Dakar” the car will look better, because SHP had some problems. In the sand had to adapt, to change the style. So not everything went smoothly.
Video: Departure of the team “KAMAZ-Master” team in rally-RAID “Dakar-2018”
What strengths and weaknesses emerged after the silk road?
Dmitry Sotnikov: First of all, we searched for a suitable mode of turbine – it was the main task. Worked with reliability, as were the issues to the fuel system. Somewhere on the “Silk road” we were lucky that did not have to stand and was able to solve the issues. One of the problems is the increase in the temperature of the engine. Power needed, the amount we have reduced and lost resource. But we tried to find some alternative solution, a compromise temperature. I mean the temperature of the exhaust – all heated very quickly. There is a small concern, but will try to control. First of all you need to keep the engine, so it won’t burn. A big mystery for us – the stages to the height that await us in Bolivia. This year we have not been able to verify the engine in such conditions.
Vladimir Chagin said that the mechanic needs to follow a lot of indications…
Dmitry Sotnikov: it has two display, and he sees a lot of options. I know from my own experience that these parameters also sees Ruslan Akhmadeev. Though he is a Navigator but understands them. By the way, he went as a mechanic and even myself sometimes worrying about looking at the devices, the parameters to the engine nothing happened. Every slightest changes he notices. But the mechanic has a lot of functions, it follows for almost all and you need time to see everything. I already mentioned tire pressure, which greatly affects the speed. You need not to overheat the tires to not get stuck and the car was easier. All you need very quickly to change, understand. If the mechanic independently to cope with such tasks as pumping tires, and monitors all other parameters, it only helps in achieving the result.
“Dakar” starts in the sand. You already have a plan or will be in the course?
Dmitry Sotnikov: There’s something to plan. Normally start get very nervous. All rush forward with the first meters.
I think it will be important to drive as we are able, to login to your regime. This is the main plan. At first it may seem that everything is going faster. But not in vain Dakar is called the marathon. You just need to go with his speed. In the end wins not the one who is able to go as fast as possible, and goes steadily to the finish line and not lose time. This is the most difficult. Of course, Renault and Iveсo very fast, not slower than us, so it is the tactical combat.
It happens that the people, knowing that you still will not win in the first special stage just knocked on all the money, trying to intimidate the opponents?
Dmitry Sotnikov: it happens. Tactically people trying to start to come off. Of course, if you lost time, it is always hard to close the gap. When the opponent feels that no one catches up, he starts to go even faster. Here it is necessary not to lose and not give a reason to relax. In General, such a psychological, sometimes a tactical battle.
What is the result on the upcoming “Dakar” will you consider successful?
Dmitry Sotnikov: Any result that will help the team to win the “Dakar”. I will work on the result, the victory of “KAMAZ” and to do the best I can.
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