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Giants of the Desert

Goodyear and winning KAMAZ Master team in full swing for upcoming Dakar

Dakar is known as the toughest rally in the world, with vehicles covering thousands of miles as they take on the gruelling 12-day event. The climate challenges of the Saudi Arabian dessert alongside long driving stints and tricky terrain makes this a human feat as well as a challenge for the vehicles themselves.

For 2021, Goodyear will continue its partnership with the winning KAMAZ Master team. In 2020, the team secured first and second positions in the Dakar Rally after 12 challenging stages. This was the 17th win for the team and a fantastic addition to Goodyear's motorsport track record as the team's official tyre partner.

Before the rally moved to Saudi Arabia for 2020, it'd found a home traversing the terrain of South America. Those who attempt the rally are familiar with all manner of obstacles, but the 2020 event offered lots of new challenges including sharp rocks and sand — and lots of it. As well as ensuring the vehicles are in the right condition to tackle this tricky terrain, there's another important part of the equation; tyres. The only contact point between the sand, rocks, hazardous descents, and anything else competitors might face, it's paramount they are working hard for the team.

The perfect partnership

Goodyear's standard Offroad ORD tyres proved to be the perfect companion for the KAMAZ Master team as they tackled the world's toughest rally. The deep non-skid tread dedicated off-road compound, and improved resistance to cuts make this range perfectly suited to sandy, rocky conditions.

The Dakar Rally is also the perfect proving ground for these products. With unpredictable conditions over the 12-day journey, they need to be able to withstand whatever is thrown at them, propelling the team towards the finish line around 7500km away.

A robust product that lasts, withstands cracking, is resistant to damage, and avoids holding stones and sharp objects, is key to the team's success. The tyres also have to be able to withstand the temperature build-up as they drive through the desert — with pilots making sure that tyre pressures are always correct so the truck doesn't get stuck in the sand.

In the 2020 rally, many teams struggled on the rubber-front but not KAMAZ Master as team pilot Dmitry Sotnikov highlights:

Dimitry Sotnikov of KAMAZ-master team
The first part of the road was very rocky. I don't remember that sort of Dakar for a long time, where we would just ride over solid stones. We witnessed everyone had wheel changes, where we could just continue the race. Our teams had only one tyre change within two weeks and that was in the very beginning on that rocky road. Almost everyone else had cuts, but we had not one complaint about the tyre during this very challenging edition. Be sure the Dakar is a very serious test for any tyre. We drove two marathon stages with these standard off-road Goodyears, and they have proven itself very well.
Dimitry Sotnikov of KAMAZ-master team

These extreme conditions are the ultimate test bed for the products that reach commercial vehicle fleets around the world. Resistance to damage and the longevity of the tyre are just as vital to a road-going commercial vehicle as it is to team KAMAZ Master's rally-ready truck.

Looking ahead to 2021

If all goes as planned, the 2021 Dakar Rally will start in Jeddah on 3 January and will pause for its rest day in Ha'il on 9 January before completing the last half of the route and finishing back in Jeddah on 15 January. This is set to be another event full of potential surprises across the sandy, rocky terrain of the Middle East.

The event is just as much about skill as it is speed, and expert tyre management plays a vital role in the success of the teams. Once again, KAMAZ Master will run on Goodyear's Offroad ORD tyres, giving them a great chance to take home yet another Dakar win.

To find out more about the 2021 Dakar rally, which begins on 3 January, visit the Dakar