Dakar Rally 2009 to South America, starts at Le Havre harbour in France The Dakar rally, the legendary endurance and navigation race, gets going on Saturday 3rd January 2009 for its 31st edition, starting at Le Havre harbour in France to fly to...
Dakar Rally 2009 to South America, starts at Le Havre harbour in France
The Dakar rally, the legendary endurance and navigation race, gets going on Saturday 3rd January 2009 for its 31st edition, starting at Le Havre harbour in France to fly to Argentina and Chile. The new route is an answer to the security and safety issues that organisers have faced in recent years.
The 2008 edition of the rally had wanted to be a benchmark for the number of vehicles registered with a record 551 vehicles. This included 227 motorbikes, 204 cars, 98 trucks and 22 quad. Around 50 nationalities were represented from China, Spain, Portugal, USA and Hungary to Japan, Netherlands and Russia. 70 per cent of the participants were international and 30 per cent were French.
A number of Al-Qaeda linked attacks caused the 2008 rally to be cancelled one day before it was due to kick off. It was a real blow that prompted organisers to look to the drawing board for a very different project. This year's participants will now aim to reach Buenos Aires and Valparaiso through a variety of landscapes and a new adventure with new opportunities.
"This race has a destiny and values," explained rally organiser, Frenchman Etienne Lavigne. "What made this event grow is the variety of cities reached since the start of the rally. This year the rally will cross this Atlantic and discover a new dimension, various territories, the plain of Patagonia and the Andes Mountains. Everybody participating, every competitor will be thrilled. It is an extremely challenging edition with long days of racing. The 21-day rally will become the toughest rally in the world with a large loop of 9,000km including around 6,000km of specials, will have to be covered by the competitors to reach Buenos Aires."
There will be 6,000km of specials across Argentina and its province Pampa, Rio Negro, and then up, along the Atlantic, through Mendoza, on the other side of the Cordilla. January 10 will be a rest day in Valparaiso on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. The rally will go through North of Chile, Coquimbo and Copiago. It will reach the San Francisco Path (4,700 meters altitude), a Latin American version of Mount Blanc in France where it is so high that it is difficult to breathe. The return trip will then take them to the Atacama Desert and notably to the Argentinean provinces of Catamarca, of Rioja and of Cordoba. The final stage will be Cordoba, the second largest city in Argentina and the final podium will be in Buenos Aires in January 18. Two Ministers from South America, Carlos Enrique, State Secretary Tourism Argentina and Jaime Pizzaro Herrero, State Secretary Sports Chile attended the official presentation and obviously in both countries the rally will be used as a sports marketing tool to put the two countries on the map of the world and global communication will help revamp the image of these countries. With 180 countries broadcasting the event, this is worth the impact.
"Just like the Africa Dakar the participants will dream with the magic landscapes and the colour of the sand, the surprising dunes, the desert grass, the rocks, the waters,'' added Lavigne, warning that the 2009 edition will be "rough and difficult'' and possibly the "most difficult" ever. But the security and risk prevention plan is developed in partnership with the Argentinean and Chilean authorities."
The Dakar rally that has a vocation to discover unknown territories for off-road rally amateurs will cross over the Atlantic Ocean for the first time ever for its 2009 edition and will not touch Africa this time although the organisers are working on going back to Africa. The calendar has therefore been adapted in order to allow the shipping of the vehicles to Argentina's capital: a first phase of technical and administrative scrutineering will take place on the 26th and 27th of November at Le Havre where the European vehicles will be boarded onto ships. The organisers of the rally have announced the opening of the period to send registration files as of 15th May 2008. During a month, the competitors that had registered for the 2008 edition of the Dakar will benefit from a priority.
The major dates of the 2009 Dakar
15th May - 30th June 2008: reception of registration files
26th - 27th November 2008: first phase of technical and administrative scrutineering at Le Havre.
31st December 2008 - 2nd January 2009: second phase of technical and administrative scrutineering at "La Rural" Palace in Buenos Aires.
3rd January 2009: start of the first stage from Buenos Aires, on the "Plaza de la Republica".
10th January 2009: rest day at Valparaiso.
18th January 2009: finish in Buenos Aires