Hanover, January 26, 2018. This Saturday, Eduard Nikolaev’s crew from the legendary KAMAZ-Master team finished the race in Argentinean Cordoba and won the truck category of the Dakar Rally 2018. The crew’s final result after 14 stages was 54 hours, 57 minutes and 37 seconds, nearly four hours ahead of competition. The other crew of KAMAZ‑Master, headed by Airat Mardeev, was also successful: they secured third place in the race. The second place was held by Siarhei Viazovich’s MAZ team from the Republic of Belarus.
It all began on January 6, 2018, where the race started in Lima, the capital of Peru. This race was extraordinary as it was the rally’s 40th anniversary and organizers did their best to make it unforgettable for both participants and spectators. Hence, they chose extremely difficult race conditions: seven stages were exceptionally sandy and five days of the race have been located at an altitude of 3,000 meters above sea level. The total length of the route amounted to 8,700 kilometers.
In order to win the difficult race among Peruvian sand hills, the high altitudes of the Bolivian Andes, and Argentinian off-road trails, the Russian drivers did not only need great driving skills and unique equipment from KAMAZ-Master enterprise but also the solutions provided by Continental. This included premium-technology Continental HCS 14.00R20 construction tires as well as ContiPressureCheck, the innovative tire pressure and temperature monitoring system, which was not customized for the race but used in the same way that standard cargo and commercial vehicles can already use it. ContiPressureCheck constantly monitors air pressure and temperature in tubeless tires with the help of sensors and can be used on multi-axle cargo and commercial vehicles with any wheel arrangement. Each sensor has a separate battery, which ensures constant operation for up to six years or around 600,000 kilometers. Signals from the devices are transmitted to a central control unit or the connected telematics system. In this case, a system developed by KAMAZ-Master engineers was used to obtain the data in order to unify it with the other control elements. The Continental HCS tire series was originally developed for rough operational conditions of construction vehicles. These tires provide great adhesion of wheels due to their unique tread and geometry and have an increased resistance to damages and punctures, which is essential for a race like the Dakar Rally.
The winner of the Dakar Rally 2018, Nikolaev, explains: "We efficiently use the benefits provided by ContiPressureCheck. The information from the sensors enables us to choose the right tactics: sometimes we decide not to stop despite a puncture because the sensor metrics show that tire pressure is still controllable enough to finish the race. The possibility of measuring each tire’s temperature and not allowing its destruction is highly important to us. We started using ContiPressureCheck actively at Silk Way 2017 and immediately felt a real impact from the information about tire condition on our race performance."
The development of the cooperation between Continental and KAMAZ-Master fully reflects the strategic agenda of Continental’s Commercial Vehicle Tires business: the transformation from a trusted and sophisticated supplier of tires to a solutions provider for holistic solutions aimed at increasing the efficiency of fleet operations.
“The KAMAZ-Master’s victory means a lot to Continental,” says Constantin Batsch, Vice President Truck Tires EMEA. “Our solutions, namely sensor-equipped tires in combination with the tire pressure monitoring system, helped the team to control their tire conditions and reduce time losses during the race.” In the same way, it will help Continental’s customers to significantly extend the life cycle of their tires, reduce downtime and fuel costs as well as costs for other indirect components which are impacted by tires.
Ilya Suslov, Sales Manager of Continental, notes that the feedback from the highly professional KAMAZ-Master team was especially valuable to Continental’s engineers because their tires have been subject to extreme conditions and loads during the race that can hardly be achieved during standard tests. “To sum it up,” Suslov says, “Dakar 2018 clearly demonstrated the durability and reliability of Continental’s tires and solutions.”