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Vladimir Chagin: “Doing as Well as Loprais Did”
Dakar : News from Scrutineering
The aim: a record. After having had to quit last year, the Czar Vladimir Chagin, commander in chief of the Kamaz army is back in Lisbon more motivated than ever. The Russian firmly intends to steal his crown back from Hans Stacey, and reach
the legendary record of Karel Loprais, i.e. 6 victories in the truck category of the trickiest of all rally raids.

What is your state of mind as you are about to start the 2008 edition?
I certainly do not want to make the same mistakes as last year (Vladimir Chagin had to leave the Dakar after over-accelerating in the fifth stage between Ouarzazate and Tan Tan, editor's note). But I'm cool. Making mistakes, being in a difficult situation, these things happen in the lives of all athletes. You just have to draw your own conclusions… From a motorsport viewpoint, apart from participating in the Desert Challenge in the United Arab Emirates, I did not race much this year. And I did not undergo any particular physical training either… But I feel more than ready for the start. My physical training is in the race!

You often insist upon the importance of team work…
50 % of any Dakar victory is the result of preparation before the race and of team work. In motorsport, you have to carefully choose all mechanical elements like e.g. the new shock absorbers we installed this year. The other 50% i.e. the race itself is also team work: strategic choices made with the team manager, coordinating work at the bivouac, etc.

At your level could you be happy with anything else than a victory?
Of course, if I won the Dakar 5 times, it's because I am only interested in winning… I'm a fighter. But despite of it all, the prime aim of the Kamaz team is still to get to Dakar. Then – if we can – we will try to get a good position in the rankings. Last year, we could have won if it hadn't been for this mistake. As for the record of Karel.
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