epa08114746 Russian driver Dmitry Sotnikov, co-driver Ruslan Akhmadeev and Mechanic Ilgiz Akhmetzianov (Kamaz-Master) in action during stage four of the Rally Dakar 2020 between Neom and Al Ula in Saudi Arabia, 08 January 2020. The Rally Dakar takes place in Saudi Arabia from 05 to 17 January 2020. EPA-EFE/ANDRE PAIN

MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. The crew of Russia’s Team Kamaz Master truck, piloted by Dmitry Sotnikov, won on Friday Dakar-2021 rally raid in Saudi Arabia.

The annual rally raid ended today after the final 200 kilometers stretch of the racing distance, which started in Yanbu and finished in Jeddah.

This is Sotnikov’s first champion’s title to win at the world’s most prestigious annual rally raid in the truck category since his debut in 2008. The 35-year-old Russian racer was twice second in the overall standings racing at the Dakar rally raid series in 2017 and 2019.

Commenting to TASS on Sotnikov’s Dakar victory, Vladimir Chagin, the head of the Team Kamaz-Master, said: “I am very happy for the whole crew.”

“Dmitry is a very fast pilot and he was shouldered by outstanding co-pilot Ruslan Akhmadeev and very reliable engineer Ilgiz Akhmetzyanov,” he stated.

“They have managed to save most of the time and deserved to win. I am very happy for Dmitry and his crew and I congratulate them,” Chagin, who is seven-time winner of Dakar Rally in truck racing category and nicknamed ‘The Tsar,’ added.

Sotnikov’s win is also the fifth consecutive victory for Team Kamaz-Master bringing the total number of the team’s victories at Dakar rally raids to 18.

The 43rd edition of the Dakar Rally was held across the territory of Saudi Arabia between January 3 and 15, 2021 and consisted of 12 stages.

Four squads of Team Kamaz-Master were registered for the most prestigious annual rally raid this year, including the crew of 2020 World Champion Andrei Karginov.

Since late 1990s, the Kamaz Master team dominated the truck category, winning a record number of 18 prestigious rally raids.

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