Monday, June 24, 2024

Anatoly Kuzmin, first Russian Dakar-winning co-driver, passes

Anatoly Kuzmin, who helped Viktor Moskovskikh and KAMAZ-master win the 1996 Dakar Rally in the truck category, died Sunday.

Kuzmin served as the co-driver on Moskovskikh’s KAMAZ-49252 at the 1996 Dakar Rally with Nail Bagavetdinov as their technician. The trio battled with Karel Loprais’ Tatra, who was seeking a three-peat, before beating him on the final stage. It was the first victory for a Russian competitor since they began taking part in 1991, and perhaps a sign of things to come for the truck class as KAMAZ won eighteen more times since. The 1996 Rally was also the début for Vladimir Chagin in a second KAMAZ, and the current team manager has won the race a record seven times.

The team released the following statement: “The KAMAZ-master team expresses condolences to the families and friends of Anatoly Andreevich Kuzmin, a veteran of the team and a member of the famous first Russian crew that won the Dakar Rally in 1996. Memory Eternal.”

The news comes less than two weeks after the death of longtime KAMAZ-master technician Nikolai Strakhov. Like Kuzmin, Strakhov was a pioneer for Russian rally raiders at Dakar as his KAMAZ finished runner-up in the team’s maiden start. Multiple passings of Dakar alumni in the past six months have also occurred such as Georges Groine, one of the earlier truck category champions in 1982 and 1990s truck competitor Alexandre Boutevillain. Matthew Stevenson and Tihomir Filipović, both also Dakar competitors in the 1990s, respectively died in February and April.

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