Dakar: The 2005 route

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Be A part of the Legend: Shorter, More Intense Offer to competitors a shorter, more intense course, with varied stages and a balance between the difficulties, was the way we have worked for the 2005 edition. With two stages and hundreds...

Be A part of the Legend: Shorter, More Intense

Offer to competitors a shorter, more intense course, with varied stages and a balance between the difficulties, was the way we have worked for the 2005 edition. With two stages and hundreds kilometres less than last year, this 27th edition of the Telefonica-Dakar is shorter in length, particularly the itinerary for assistance vehicles which has been reduced by approximately 40%. On the ground, the best will show their worth via their navigating ability rather than by the performance of their vehicles

Overall map: 16 stages, from 2004-12-31 to 2005-01-16, Barcelona to Dakar.
Photo by A.S.O.
Stage 1: Barcelona to Barcelona
31 December, 2004
Liaison 27 km - Special 6 km - Liaison 17 km
Total 50 km

The people of Barcelona will be spectators to a Super Special staged on the beach.

For the first time, the Super Special will not only serve to establish the starting order for the following day's stage, the times will also be taken into account for the official classification.

Over the 6 km of this route run on the beach, the slightest mechanical hitch could already be of consequence!

The motorcycle trunks will not be available here.

Stage 2: Barcelona to Granada
1 January 2005
Liaison 920 km
Total 920 km

After the ceremony presenting the competitors on the podium situated "Placa de Espanya", the Telefonica-Dakar caravan will face its first difficulty.

No competing is on the programme, but a long and testing liaison to Granada. The route will almost exclusively be covered via motorway, apart from an exit for a lunch break and a check point in Castellon, another regular city on the Dakar route.

The loading or towing of motorcycles and quads is strictly forbidden.

Stage 3: Granada to Rabat
2 January 2005
Liaison 6 km - Special 10 km - Liaison 557 km
Total 573 km

Before leaving Spain, competitors will race a final 10 km special, swift and spectacular, run on military ground near Granada.

The liaison to Algeciras, where they will embark, includes a passage control in Antequera. After the boat crossing, the first part of the route on African soil is very smooth running, with a stretch of motorway from Tangiers to Rabat, where the finish may nevertheless be late.

For the 4th time in its history the Dakar will set up its bivouac in the Moroccan capital, after previous visits in 1994, 1999 and 2002.

Stage 4: Rabat to Agadir
3 January 2005
Liaison 122 km - Special 123 km - Liaison 421 km
Total 666 km

The short liaison will take the competitors to the start of a first African special that is filled with traps from the very beginning; the route is 70 % new. In the first part, marked out through an undulating cork oak forest, Rally specialists may put their driving skills to full use. After this, although the sand and the desert are still far off, the first navigating problems appear.

There are many changes in direction, in a landscape sorely lacking in landmarks: competitors, even experienced drivers, will very likely lose time here. And before reaching Agadir, the gateway to the south, 430 km of liaison must still be covered.

Stage 5: Agadir to Smara
4 January 2005
Liaison 240 km - Special 381 km - Liaison 33 km
Total 654 km

Stage 5: 2005-01-04, Agadir to Smara.
Photo by A.S.O.
Before attacking the first long - Special, there will be a warm up session on a tarmac road to Guelmin. The start of the special, between the hills, will allow high speeds but the very rocky tracks that follow will force drivers to reduce their pace.

The level of difficulty will move up a scale here. The rest of the - Special will alternate between slow and fast stretches, on a mainly sinuous track.

This second part, never taken before by any of the competitors, will end with a very long "chott". From this stage onwards competitors' positions may change and leads may be established.

Stage 6: Smara to Zouerat
5 January 2005
Liaison 121 km - Special 492 km - Liaison 9 km
Total 622 km

Drivers skilled at dune crossing and navigating will here be in their element. But for the 40 % of new entrants in the motorcycle category, it is in arriving in Mauritania that the real Dakar experience will begin.

After 100 km of track liaison to the Mauritanian border, competitors will start the - Special with a very fast section on sandy ground.

This will be followed by mainly speedy stretches punctuated by spaced out dune fields, as far as 1 km apart.

Assistance vehicle will take the special route on 100 km.

Stage 7: Zouerat to Tichit
6 January 2005
Liaison 9 km - Special 660 km
Total 669 km

Regular Dakar participants won't be able to use their intimate knowledge of the region as most of the route is new this year. In the motorcycle

category, there will be a line-up start, in lines of 20. Up to the difficult El Ghall?ou?ya pass, situated between two cliffs, drivers will cross plains and some dune fields. The programme will then consist of the crossing of El Mrayer, the "mirror", a series of small ergs, followed by one hundred or so kilometres of camel grass, and terminating with the need to find a pass, the only way to arrive at the Tichit oasis! At the finish, only refreshments are authorised; vehicles are placed in the Parc Ferme. "Real" marathon stages are back on the Dakar programme.

Stage 8: Tichit to Tidjikja
7 January 2005
Special 520 km - Liaison 18 km
Total 538 km

This stage is a real best of. It will include several stretches of the greatest - Specials raced in the region over the last 20 years. Competitors will have sand and sand and sand...

But along with the many dunes to be crossed, there will also be several difficul passes to find, for which competitors who need could request the GPS de-blocking codes.

After climbing the Nega pass, which becomes more and more difficult every year, drivers must follow a rocky and sinuous track to Tidjikja.

Stage 9: Tidjikja to Atar
8 January 2005
Liaison 3 km - Special 361 km - Liaison 35 km
Total 399 km

In this final stage before the rest day driving enthusiasts will here be in their element. The 300 kilometres of track will be very fast running even if the end of the stage is punctuated with difficulties. 20 kilometres from the end, competitors will find themselves at the foot of the immense and mythical Chinguetti erg. Crossing the dunes will have to be done gently, without overdoing it, in order to arrive quickly at the bivouac. As after more than a week into the race, every hour of rest will be appreciated. This stage has been traced so that amateurs can reach the bivouac as early as possible in order to enjoy the rest day.

Stage 9: 2005-01-08, Tidjikja to Atar.
Photo by A.S.O.

Rest day: Atar
9 January 2005

Stage 10: Atar to Atar
10 January 2005
Liaison 8 km - Special 483 km - Liaison 8 km
Total 499 km

Competitors usually have a smooth start to the stage following the rest day. That will not be the case this year! This loop - Special is the hardest in the rally in terms of dune crossing.

At the very beginning of the stage, a 40 km erg will filter the competitors, and then they will have to climb the difficult Thaga pass.

A sea of sand and numerous dune fields will enliven the route to the El Beyyed Erg: another 40 km of non-stop dunes, amongst the most difficult ever crossed by the competitors. The "return" route will be easier, marked out through the plains for 200 km over the Sebkhet Chemch?m "chott".

Stage 11: Atar to Kiffa
11 January 2005
Liaison 34 km - Special 656 km - Liaison 5 km
Total 695 km

To celebrate in a worthy fashion the leaving of At?r and the last day in Mauritania, drivers will race a long - Special of 600 km. The first half, towards Tidjikja via the Pic de Bou Naga, will include much dune crossing on very soft sand: be careful with the fuel consumption. The track is then a new one, in the valleys of the Tagant massif, crossing the superb Ksar el Barka oasis before once again taking the very rocky stretch leading to the Nega pass, this time in a downwards direction.

The final 150 km stretch is a fast one, but motorcycle participants will have to watch out for ruts made by trucks on this sandy track.

Stage 12: Kiffa to Bamako
12 January 2005
Liaison 25 km - Special 586 km - Liaison 208 km
Total 819 km

The arrival in Sahelian Africa is marked by speedy tracks surrounded by vegetation. Difficulties in finding landmarks make navigating a delicate operation in the first third of this stage, up until the malian border.

Then follows the crossing of numerous villages. Drivers are here obliged to slow down for the security of everyone. After Nioro competitors will encounter narrow laterite tracks, which make overtaking very difficult. They will also splash through their first rivers, and perhaps encounter a few animals. In Bamako, vehicles will once more be placed in the Parc Ferme, and no mechanical interventions will be allowed.

Stage 13: Bamako to Kayes
13 January 2005
Liaison 205 km - Special 370 km - Liaison 93 km
Total 668 km

From the start of the - Special to the Manantali barrage, the still laterite track is on the wide side and allows for fast Rally style driving.

For the next 150 km, it's back to bush landscape, where the track more often than not takes the form of a bush path through the middle of nowhere.

Motocross specialists will be the most confident in the crossing of the Tambaoura cliffs.

The finish of the - Special will be judged in Sadiola, a small Malian town known for its opencast gold mine.

Stage 14: Kayes to Tambacounda
14 January 2005
Liaison 93 km - Special 529 km - Liaison 8 km
Total 630 km

Stage 14: 2005-01-14, Kayes to Tambacounda.
Photo by A.S.O.
It is from Sadiola, in Mali, that this stage will start, moving directly south along the Senegalese border.

The laterite track gradually narrows leading to a savannah landscape near Satadougou.

Here the rally will cross the Faleme River, which in the memories of old hands remains a historical spot as it heralds the arrival of the rally in Senegal and the finish.

The track that leads to Tambacounda alternates between bush landscape, the crossing of villages and quick splashes in little rivers in Soninke country.

Stage 15: Tambacounda to Dakar
15 January 2005
Liaison 108 km - Special 225 km - Liaison 236 km
Total 569 km

Competitors will be back on a tarmac road for a liaison of approximately 100 km to the start of the - Special.

This is a route for specialists of expert driving for all those who have the energy left.

We leave the tropical forest for the savannah, the landscape lightens along with the kilometres but landmarks are so difficult to find.

After the - Special, there is a final 200 km stretch of route through Senegal, to be savoured slowly, for your personal safety and enjoyment! No bivouac at night. The Assistance Parc is situated within the perimeter of the hotel Meridien.

Stage 16: Dakar to Dakar
16 January 2005
Liaison 37 km - Special 31 km
Total 68 km

Apart from a handful of competitors capable of moving one or two places further up in the "overall" ranking and so interested in gaining a few seconds, the outcome is already decided for everyone else.

This year, the finish will renew with tradition. There will be a line-up start for the Special on the beach: in lines of twenty for bikers, in twos for cars and trucks. So be careful on the final route which runs through the dunes, followed by the traditional tour of the Lac Rose in front of the thousands of people who have congregated here to applaud their heroes! After the ceremony on the podium and the prize giving, everyone returns in procession to the hotel Meridien.

-www.dakar.com-

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Series DAKAR