MINSK, 18 January (BelTA) – Taking a risk at the finish has turned out to be a reasonable move as MAZ picked up its first stage win at the Dakar rally, Belarusian pilot Sergei Vyazovich said following the race, BelTA has learned.
“At the end of the first special we learned that we were three minutes ahead of the hopeful. Then we decided to pick up the pace and ride the last 20 kilometers at full speed. The risk turned out to be reasonable as we became the first Belarusians ever to grab a stage win at Dakar,” Sergei Vyazovich said.
BelTA reported earlier that Sergei Vyazovich set a blistering pace of 5:14:10 as he came in first at Stage 11, 36 seconds ahead of Argentina's Federico Villagra (Iveco). Dmitry Sotnikov (KamAZ-Master) finished third, 28 minutes behind the pace-setter.
The stage was less successful for another two MAZ-SPORTavto crews. Alexander Vasilevsky clocked 9 hours 56 minutes to come in 17th, 4 hours 42 minutes off the pace. Aleksei Vishnevsky was 18th (4 hours 51 minutes back). The Belarusians had to fix the problems with the compressor and change two wheels during the race.
Next up is Stage 12 which is going to be pretty tough, too. It covers a distance of 523 km featuring rocky road sections that can easily damage the vehicle. The race will demand utmost concentration not only from the pilots but also from the navigators.
The 2018 Dakar edition is the seventh for the Belarusian team. The owner of MAZ-SPORTavto is Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ trademark), the technical partner is velcom. The 2018 Dakar Rally is running through Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina to wrap up in Cordoba, Argentina on 20 January. The race features 3,500 kilometers of high-speed sections, with most of the route running in the highlands.More about Sport