Dakar Rally Exclusion Prompts KAMAZ-Master’s Interest in Africa Eco Race

    KAMAZ-master Team Explores Africa Eco Race as Alternative

    With the Dakar Rally off limits for the KAMAZ-master team due to sanctions stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Sergey Kupriyanov, the team’s representative, has expressed interest in returning to the Africa Eco Race (AER).

    “Personally, I would very much like to return to Africa someday,” Kupriyanov stated, highlighting the special atmosphere of the event.

    KAMAZ-master is one of the top rally raid truck teams, having won the Dakar Rally 19 times. Kupriyanov himself finished second in the Truck category at the 2015 AER and was the top-finishing hybrid in a gas/diesel hybrid truck in the following two editions.

    However, the KAMAZ team has not raced the Dakar since 2022 due to the invasion, as their parent company is directly involved in the war effort. Under the current FIA policy, Russian and Belarusian competitors are required to sign documentation condemning the war and agree to race under a neutral flag if they wish to take part.

    Kupriyanov acknowledged the team’s ties to the military as well as the state ownership, stating that KAMAZ has “unsurprisingly rejected the terms” and instead focused on the Russian Rally-Raid Championship (RAFRR) and the Silk Way Rally.

    While the AER follows a similar Europe-to-Senegal route as the Dakar Rally and has FIA recognition, it is not overseen by the sanctioning body, potentially allowing Russian competitors to enter if they wish.

    Kupriyanov’s position as the chairman of the board for PJSC Gazprom, a state-run oil company that co-developed his hybrid KAMAZ truck, has also prevented him from running much of the RAFRR season. He told Match TV that it is “difficult to answer” if he is available for the 2024 Silk Way Rally.

    The exclusion of KAMAZ-master and other Russian teams from the Dakar Rally has created an opportunity for the Africa Eco Race to potentially attract more participation from the top rally raid truck outfits. As Kupriyanov expressed his personal desire to return to Africa, the future of the KAMAZ team’s involvement in the AER remains a topic of discussion.

    ๐Ÿ”— Source