Rus­sian truck builder Ka­maz came sec­ond in this year’s Dakar. Plans are far ad­vanced to pre­vent a re­peat.

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - CC WEISS — Giz­mag.

COM­ING off a loss to Iveco in its 2016 cam­paign, Rus­sian Dakar sta­ple Ka­maz has de­signed an all-new truck pointed di­rectly at the 2017 Dakar event.

The big, bad, blacked-out Mas­ter “Kapot­nik” fea­tures a new lay­out and a 980-hp pow­er­train. Ka­maz be­lieves it will be the truck to bring back its 14th Dakar vic­tory.

The all-new Ka­maz Mas­ter leaves the tra­di­tion of forward con­trol cabs in the past, and looks all the more rugged and pow­er­ful be­cause of it. “The first thing you no­tice about the new truck is that the ride is smoother for the peo­ple in the cab, for the crew,” Ka­maz-mas­ter team leader Vladimir Cha­gin said.

“Be­cause when­ever we hit a bump or some­thing the shock doesn’t go straight up into the spine as in the cab-over con­fig­u­ra­tion where you’re sit­ting on top of the axle. Here the shock goes into the en­gine so the im­pres­sion you get from this ve­hi­cle is that you’re driv­ing in a big SUV, only larger.”

Ka­maz also be­lieves the new cab con­fig­u­ra­tion, which shifts weight off the front axle and to­ward the cen­tre, will im­prove ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity, pro­vide bet­ter move­ment over sand and offer bet­ter jump land­ings.

“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.”

Ka­maz says the new Mas­ter will reach speeds close to 160 km/h “on more or less any sur­face”.

Those speeds come cour­tesy of the big, bulging 731-kW 12,5-litre diesel en­gine and 16speed ZF trans­mis­sion pow­er­ing all four wheels. A 1 000-litre fuel tank al­lows the truck to drive all day and into the night.

The new Ka­maz Mas­ter has now proven in Rus­sia’s Rally Raid Gold Cup of Ka­gan in late April. Its next race is the Silky Way Rally in July.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Ka­maz has de­signed an all-new truck to win the next Dakar.

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