- January 05, 1970
- Russian Federation
- Dakar Rally
As a seven-time winner in the truck category, Russian rally raid driver Vladimir Chagin is a true legend of Dakar Rally and he absolutely deserved his nickname ’The Tsar of Dakar’. All of his success he achieved with Kamaz trucks, scoring half of fourteen wins that Kamaz recorded until 2017.
Vladimir Gennadiyevich Chagin was born on January 5, 1970, in the city of Perm. He began to compete in the rally raids in the mid-1990s, while in 1996 he made his first appearance in Dakar Rally and finished 30th driving a Kamaz truck. Chagin spent his entire career driving trucks of the Russian manufacturer.
For his first triumph in the most demanding race in the world, Vladimir had to wait until 2000. He won Dakar Rally for the first time, with 4 stage wins en route to the overall victory. That year Chagin beat his great rival and another legend of Dakar Rally truck category Karel Loprais by 16 minutes.
Chagin failed to defend the title in 2001. He won five stages before he was forced to retire.
However, lack of fortune didn’t affect the Russian driver who won three consecutive titles from 2002 to 2004. In 2002, in the race from Arras to Dakar, he won seven stages and was almost four and a half hours better than Loprais.
The following year, when the race started in Marseille and ended in Sharm el-Sheikh, Chagin was the winner of just two stages but at the end, he was more than an hour ahead of Andre de Azevedo.
In 2004, the rally started in Auvergne. The first week was almost perfect for the Russian who won four stages. During the second week, he regularly was among the top three and his overall lead was never in doubt. At the end of the race, he had a 53 minutes advantage to his compatriot Firdaus Kabirov. Despite winning six stages in 2005, Chagin wasn’t able to win the title for the fourth time in a row and he finished 18th.
The 28th edition of Dakar Rally was lucky for Chagin as he won the race for the fifth time, accompanied by his long-time co-drivers Semen Yacubov and Sergey Savostin. He won the opening six stages, added another one at the beginning of the second week and triumphed two hours and 20 minutes ahead of the MAN driver Hans Stacey.
In 2007, he handed over the crown to Stacey. Chagin started the rally well and won two stages but later was never the fortune’s favorite and retired due to failure of his Kamaz. The event was canceled in 2008, while in 2009, the Russian truck driver finished as a runner-upin the first edition at South America, losing to Kabirov by less than four minutes.
Four years after the last triumph, Chagin added another victory to his account. In 2010, the race was held in South America for the second time and Vladimir learned the lesson from the previous year. He was absolutely dominant and he set a new record by winning 9 out of 14 stages before retaking his crown from Kabirov.
In 2011, Chagin won his seventh and the last Dakar Rally trophy. It was another wonderful performance by the Russian truck driver as he won seven stages. At the end, his was 30 minutes clear of Kabirov. After setting a new record, Chagin decided to call it a day but stayed with Kamaz and became a team instructor.
The Dakar Rally triumphs are not the only trophies that Chagin has in his collection. He is a six-time winner of Desert Challenge, a four-time winner of Master-Rally, and the winner of many other rally raids like Khazar Steppes, Kalmykia Rally, Baja Italia, Rally Orientale Kappadokia, etc.
For his merits, Vladimir Chagin received many awards and medals of the USSR and the Russian Federation.