Argentina-Chile-Argentina 2010 Dakar route

2010 Course: the sand asset The triptyque designed for the 2010 Dakar on the territories of Argentina and Chile promises to each kind of driver a sequence adapted to their qualities. The long stay in the Atacama Desert will be the climax of a ...

2010 Course: the sand asset

The triptyque designed for the 2010 Dakar on the territories of Argentina and Chile promises to each kind of driver a sequence adapted to their qualities. The long stay in the Atacama Desert will be the climax of a 9000 kilometres loop through the continent. But the global balance of the course with varied difficulties force all to be consistent and careful to the end.

Stage 1 - Buenos Aires to Cordoba Friday 1 and Saturday 2 January

Bikes / Quads
* Liaison : 349 km
* Speciale : 219 km
* Liaison : 84 km
* Total : 652 km

Cars / Trucks
* Liaison : 349 km
* Speciale : 251 km
* Liaison : 84 km
* Total : 684 km

Going through Calamuchita
In the first days of the rally, overtaking is sometimes tricky. To make things easier between the bikers and the car and truck crews, a doubled course has been designed with just a few kilometres less for the riders. While the course will be separated, the program remains similar with tracks that will seduce the sliding specialists. In the car class, experts will have noticed a tribute to the Argentinean leg of WRC that usually goes through the Calamuchita Valley. The steering wheel virtuosos will be able to express themselves.

Stage 2 - Cordoba to La Rioja Sunday, January 3

Bikes / Quads
* Liaison : 56 km
* Speciale : 294 km
* Liaison : 276 km
* Total : 626 km

Cars / Trucks
* Liaison : 56 km
* Speciale : 355 km
* Liaison : 276 km
* Total : 687 km

Double sensation
Again to avoid tricky manoeuvres, bikes and quads will have, like on the previous day their own course. On the major part of the special, the motocross and enduro specialists will enjoy the blind jumps and series of fast bends. They will then have to take on a wilder environment: less sinuous but rockier. The drivers in cars and trucks will have to take good care of their brakes on a long descent at the middle of the special.

Stage 3 - La Rioja to Fiambala Monday, January 4

* Liaison : 259 km
* Speciale : 182 km
* Liaison : 0 km
* Total : 441 km

The white pit
It'll be on the third real day of racing that the competitors will have to deal with a first test. The change of context will be radical: with a switch from earth to sand and especially a dune portion of close to 30 kilometres. Other than their dimension that suits perfectly a first part of rally, these dunes are noticeable thanks to their white colour. In this new landscape, the crews will enjoy off-piste. They will also have to adapt to a change of climate and especially sand storms that are frequent in the area.

Stage 4 - Fiambala to Copiapo Tuesday, January 5

* Liaison : 394 km
* Speciale : 203 km
* Liaison : 32 km
* Total : 629 km

Welcome to the Atacama
The organisers have made sure of taking good care of the competitors during this day that will first of all be used to cross the border. After a very early start, the crossing of the Andes Cordillera will be done during a liaison. At an altitude sometimes over 4000m, the shivers will be linked to the temperature as well as the beauty of landscapes. The descent, Chile side, will take the competitors to an absolute desert special. The rather short distance of this exercise will allow one to work on the last settings for a 'sand' configuration that the vehicles will keep during several days.

Stage 5 - Copiapo to Antofagasta Wednesday, January 6

* Liaison : 90 km
* Speciale : 483 km
* Liaison : 97 km
* Total : 670 km

Danger zone
The area has a reputation for its density in gold and copper mines. And that'll be the theme of the hard day the competitors will witness on the road to Antofagasta, as demanding physically as it will be mentally. The open but rocky tracks of the first part of the day won't leave the slightest respite in terms of staying focused. And the off-road portions that follow will request solidity at all points of view: it is indeed here that the competitors will have to battle it out in the fesh-fesh, known on this continent as 'guadal'. At the end of this stage where changes in pace will be numerous; the notion of endurance will start to have its real significance. The less cautious will have already committed mistakes.

Stage 6 - Antofagasta to Iquique Thursday, January 7

* Liaison : 180 km
* Speciale : 418 km
* Liaison : 0 km
* Total : 598 km

Heading North
The efforts are equally spread out on the day's special. On the off-piste portion of the first third, the dust will push the competitors to be cautious. The larger and faster tracks that will be at the heart of the program will force those who are fighting for positions to maintain a fast pace. They will however need to keep a good amount of energy: indeed an African type erg awaits at the heart of a sandy portion of around fifty kilometres. But for the final part, the reward will be at the height of the difficulties. After having climbed a last dune, the competitors will take on a slide type sand downhill of close to three kilometres with Iquique and the waves of the ocean on the horizon. An unforgettable scene.

Stage 7 - Iquique to Antofagasta Friday, January 8

* Liaison : 37 km
* Speciale : 600 km
* Liaison : 4 km
* Total : 641 km

"What's a salar?"
The longest special of the rally is also the most varied. When leaving Iquique, one always has regrets but the splendour of the landscapes will motivate the competitors just as much as the fun they will witness in the sand dunes they will have to swallow in the first part of the day. The ideal technique will be a lot harder to find when having to cross a salar, of around 3 kilometres. On this extent filled with huge blocks of dry salt, certainly never seen by most of the competitors, the speed will drop down to under 10 km/h! Once that's digested, the tracks heading to Antofagasta are, in majority, fast and open. The menu will be generous in terms of sand and kilometres. The rule book will allow the bikers and crews to reach the bivouac before 6.00 PM on the following day, during the rest day.

Rest Day - Saturday, January 9

The rest day in Antofagasta for the competitors and their service crews.

Stage 8 - Antofagasta to Copiapo Sunday, January 10

* Liaison : 96 km
* Speciale : 472 km
* Liaison : 0 km
* Total : 568 km

Dune desert
The hundred kilometres or so of liaison will allow the competitors to leave an often foggy area, in order to launch the special in optimal visibility conditions. If the rest day has had its effect, the debates will resume on this penultimate stage in the Atacama. On rocky terrain during the first part, minutes will easily be lost in case of a mistake for a title contender. With the kilometres covered, the cruising pace should progressively increase until hitting more and more frequent dune zones as we close in on Copiapo. Those who want to enjoy the final panorama won't be able to slow down and take it easy: the stage will be long and the days are short.

Stage 9 - Copiapo to La Serena Monday, January 11

* Liaison : 0 km
* Speciale : 338 km
* Liaison : 209 km
* Total : 547 km

Bikers, in line by 20!
The last day in the Atacama will be a good opportunity to make the best of sand and dunes: it is mainly on the first 180 kilometres that the difficulties will be gathered. The terrain being fairly open, the bikers will take off in lines of twenty. At this stage of the race, the leaders are clearly identified in each class but the podium can still change at any moment. In the same way, those who will have reached La Serena will certainly have covered the toughest part, technically speaking. A long distance will however have to still be covered with cold blood and taking it easily. For the amateurs, it is on these qualities that a Dakar can be played.

Stage 10 - La Serena to Santiago Tuesday, January 12

* Liaison : 112 km
* Speciale : 238 km
* Liaison : 236 km
* Total : 586 km

Short but essential
The end of the journey through the Atacama will remind all that Chile is mainly spread out on hilly territories. The vegetation is dense and varied and the competitors will be able to notice that on the road to Santiago. On the many hills, they will also have to get used to more and more sinuous tracks where trajectory mistakes can cost many minutes, or even hours. There is much more to loose than to win on the day's stage.

Stage 11 - Santiago to San Juan Wednesday, January 13

* Liaison : 211 km
* Speciale : 220 km
* Liaison : 3 km
* Total : 434 km

Saluting the Aconcagua
It's through the Paso Libertadores, at an altitude of 3500 metres that the competitors will leave Chile to return to Argentina where the day's special will take place. For the first fifty kilometres which will actually be the only portion of the rally competed at high altitude, the mechanics will need to work on settings to compensate with the lack of power. The competitors will race on the high hill tops of the Andes with views on the famous Aconcagua that dominates the area from the top of its 6859 metres. To reach San Juan, one will then need to find a way through the rios. In the same time the cars and trucks will have to take good care of their brakes for a long descent of close to 20 kilometres.

Stage 12 - San Juan to San Rafael Thursday, January 14

* Liaison : 23 km
* Speciale : 476 km
* Liaison : 297 km
* Total : 796 km

Between fairies and dinosaurs
For the longest stage of the rally, the program will be as lively as it will be spectacular. We will leave the area of dinosaurs on tracks cut by rios, surrounded by canyons and "fairy chimneys". After around 200 kilometres of special, the competitors will momentarily use the road in order to avoid a classified and protected natural site. The second part, exclusively sandy will have many jumps. The bikers can expect to have sore arms and the best of them will rarely ride at over 100 km/h. The day will be even more tiring due to the fact that it will end with a long liaison.

Stage 13 - San Rafael to Santa Rosa Friday, January 15

* Liaison : 76 km
* Speciale : 368 km
* Liaison : 281 km
* Total : 725 km

Life in grey
With two days to go before the finish, the standings can still be modified. No-one can consider being clear of staying stuck in the grey sand of the Nihuil dunes, the last few of the rally. After this part of close to 40 kilometres, larger and faster paths will lead the competitors to the finish of the special. These portions will be a rare opportunity to test on the distance the top speeds of the vehicles while taking good care of the mechanical aspect.

Stage 14 - Santa Rosa to Buenos Aires Saturday, January 16

* Liaison : 166 km
* Speciale : 206 km
* Liaison : 335 km
* Total : 707 km

Celebrate the heroes
From the first to the last, staying focused is key on this final special where the statistics are formal: there are always withdrawals just a few lengths away from the finish. The 206 kilometres of special, covered on very fast tracks therefore have to be negotiated extremely carefully. At the finish, the heroes of this 32nd edition will at first be celebrated in the village of San Carlos de Bolivar. The aficionados, aware that the most intense moments of joy occur on the line, will certainly have come in numbers. After the avalanche of emotions, the competitors will drive to Buenos Aires where a huge crowd will be expecting them for more glorious moments.

-source: aso

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series DAKAR