Every vehicle that takes part in the Dakar Rally is by definition an incredible machine. But the trucks are positively miraculous.
Weighing six tons, they can easily top 100mph on pretty much any terrain and handle like an oversized Mitsubishi Evo. Watching them soaring hundreds of feet over jumps and drifting along dirt tracks is a thrilling experience. Watch the video at the bottom of this page to see for yourself.
Russian manufacturer Kamaz dominates the category, winning 13 times in the last 20 years. And for 2016 it will have a new challenger, the big, black mean machine you see here.
It’s been christened Kapotnik and is quite a departure for Kamaz as it has a bonnet, rather than the flat front the old machine had. The long-nose layout gives better weight distribution and handling and a more comfortable ride for the crew, who aren’t subjected to such brutal forces as they are when sat on top of the front axle.
Incidentally, the wind seems to be blowing towards long-nose trucks on the Dakar generally; if Kamaz’s new machine works, expect everyone else to follow suit.
The Kapotnik is actually based on the same four-wheel-drive 4326 chassis that took Kamaz’s most recent Dakar win. But it has a new 12.5-litre diesel engine producing a whopping 980bhp and many thousands of torques. It’s hooked up to a 16-speed ZF gearbox, though you probably only need about six of those gears.
After debuting on the Silk Way Rally – a 10,000km run from Moscow to Beijing – later this year, the Kapotnik and the rest of the Kamaz squad will ahead to South America for the Dakar Rally in January. Its rivals will be watching progress nervously.
For more information click here
By Only Motors