Wednesday, 21 November 2012 20:24
Dakar Rally to bring 1,700 participants through Chile in 5,000 mile-long race.
The Dakar Rally, an international off-road race, will return to South America in January for the fifth time in its history, bringing with it an anticipated 459 racing teams with 1,700 total participants. Covering nearly 5,000 miles of ground, the Dakar Rally
2013 will begin in Lima, Peru, and finish in Santiago.
Organizers of the 2013 race anticipate a slight increase in participation from the previous year, amounting to about 3.6 percent.
“It is an improvement in competitiveness and participation,” Dakar Director Etienne Lavigne told Radio BioBio
The Dakar Rally, first raced in 1978 from Paris to Dakar, Senegal, is a type of off-road endurance race called a “rally raid,” in which vehicles of varying types race through the most rugged terrains. The rally includes motorcycles, quads, cars and trucks representing drivers from 53 different countries.
The Dakar formerly took place in Europe and Africa but was relocated to South America in 2009 due to dangers in Mauritania, where the course passed through.
Beginning in Lima on Jan. 5, participants will face the struggles of desert terrain in southern Peru before crossing the border into Chile on Jan. 9. Racers will travel from northern Chile to Argentina two days later, and after a day of rest, will continue southeast into central Argentina. The course will then take drivers back to the Chilean border, crossing through the Andes Mountains and into the Atacama Desert before heading south to finish in Santiago.
Ranging from ages 19 to 71, drivers are of varying nationalities and make up the most diverse competition in Dakar history. Peru is the fifth most represented country in the new competition, and drivers will represent six new countries in 2013: Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.
The 2013 race will bring back former champions from all categories of competition: Cyril Despres and Marc Coma in the motorcycle competition, Marcos Patronelli in the quad competition, Stépane Peterhansel in the car competition and underdog champion Gérard de Rooy in the truck competition.
By Emily Green (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Copyright 2012 - The Santiago Times