Dakar race 2018 was the 40th in general rally-marathon that covered the territories of three countries – Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. The 9,000 km journey started on January 6, 2018, in the capital of Peru, Lima, returning back after a five-year break. After the first five days there, the race continued in Bolivia and finished on January 20 in Cordoba (Argentina).
This time, the race proved to be an extremely difficult one. It was not only the bizarre terrain like the dried-up river-beds and dunes, but also the small-grained sand, the dry branches and stones, which are dangerous for the tires. Harsh climatic conditions, varying from snow with slippery curvy roads to desert heat challenged the contestants. Therefore, only 30 vehicles from originally 42 were able to continue the competition after the first few stages.
Three KAMAZ-master teams participated in the truck category of the Dakar race 2018. The crew of Eduard Nikolaev won the champion title at the wheel of a truck equipped with a Liebherr V8 diesel engine with a power output of 750 kW (1020 h.p.). Thefore, the "heart of the machine" allowed the over 10,000 kg heavy trucks to reach the maximum speed limit of 140 km/h at Dakar and to speed up from zero to 100 km/h in less than 10 seconds.
The competitors kept the pace with KAMAZ-master throughout the race: the IVECO team of Federico Villagra (Argentina) and the MAZ team of Siarhei Viazovich (Belorussia), who came second. The KAMAZ crew of Airat Mardeev won the third prize in the truck category, bringing one further medal to KAMAZ-master.
Finally, neither the complexity of the tracks and severe weather conditions, nor the incidents or challenging rivalry between the race teams prevented KAMAZ-master from winning back the champion title at Dakar for the fifteenth time.