The KAMAZ-master rally team yesterday departed for France to take part in next year's first international marathon - the 'Telefonica Dakar 2003' off-road rally. According to the KAMAZ car plant's press office, Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimer saw the team off with the words 'Forward, you iron mustangs. We have faith in you!' and expressed the hope that they manage to maintain their hard-won position among the world's top car manufacturers. According to the press office, KAMAZ's, Tatarstan's and Russia's pride will be defended in France by two teams, lead by Vladimir Chagin and Firdaus Kabirov.
The 'Dakar' rally begins in Marseille, France on January 1, 2003. Three of the planned 17 stages will be held in France and Spain. On January 4 all the equipment and personnel will be transferred across the Mediterranean to Africa. The rally's main stages will take place in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. The rally is over 8,500 kilometres long and will feature around 300 teams from over 30 manufacturers.