Russian rally driver Eduard Nikolaev of the Kamaz-Master truck team claimed gold in the Truck category of this year’s Dakar Rally – marking his second Dakar win after taking the podium’s top step in 2013.

“I am overflowing with emotions,” he said at the finish. “I even teared up a bit when we crossed the line.”

Nikolaev completed the final stage between Rio Cuarto and Buenos Aires with a 19-minute lead over fellow Russian and Kamaz-Master driver Dmitry Sotnikov, leaving defending champion, Iveco’s Gerard De Rooy, in third place.

The start of the race looked promising for De Rooy, who hoped to replicate his 2016 victory, but several punctures in the latter stages of the race put paid to his chances.

“We performed and worked exceptionally well as a team,” commented De Rooy. “The aim was to at least place in a podium position and we achieved that. We had one bad day, and we cannot blame anyone for that. Last year we had only one flat tyre, and this year we had many more. I am however pleased that we didn’t have any mechanical issues with the truck.”