THE EVE OF THE EVENT

Paris, le Havre, Santiago, Buenos Aires... In the space of just a few days' travel, we can feel the event gaining stature. The many conversations - with competitors who have loaded their vehicles, with European and South American journalists who are also getting ready to follow the race, or with the heads of the two host countries - all convey the same feeling to us; this great event is taking shape. The 32nd Dakar Rally, which promises to be both spectacular and hectic, will be starting on the same days as the Chileans and Argentineans begin a year's celebration of the bicentenary of their nations. With its 185 motorbikes and quads, 138 cars and 50 trucks, Dakar continues to attract the rally raid elite - the most ambitious of amateurs, as well as a crowd of adventurers who simply want to test themselves against the demands of the ordeal. Each to his own challenge.

ENVIRONMENT

For more than 15 years, the Dakar has been employing local service providers to take care of collecting waste and disposing of it at existing disposal sites. This year, partnership has been made with Asigna to organize the transportation of waste to processing centres capable of processing and/or recycling it.

On the bivouac, waste sorting will be organized for both competitors, members of the organization, and the media and rally partners. Particular attention will also be paid to the recovery of used oil.

DAVIDE BORGHESI: "THE START OF A STORY"

This could be the biggest story of the year! With high ambitions from the start, Aprilia is racing three 450cc motors for its Dakar debut. Francisco Lopez, as the announced leader, will be counting equally on his new team and his intimate knowledge of the Atacama Desert to make his mark on home ground. However, it's the 2011 event that Team Manager Davide Borghesi, has set his sights on.

How was Aprilia's involvement in Dakar 2010 decided upon?

We have been thinking about it for a few years now, because we have an interest in both the discipline and the challenge. We didn't have any timescale in mind at first, but when the changes in the regulations allowed us to compete with the big cylinders, everything was set in motion. So although it was anticipated, our plan now is to see what we can achieve by developing our 450cc over a period of three years - for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 events.

Isn't rushing it a bit risky ?

It's clear that we are real rally raid beginners. Our only experience is consists of having participated in two events of the Pharoans Rally. Our main mission in Dakar will therefore be to gather as much information as possible, with a view to improving future organisation of the team, bike and so on .

All the same, you have recruited Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez who has already been declared a favourite for the 2010 event...

We will, of course, be trying to win because we do have pilots - including Gerard Farres and Paolo Ceci - whose performance is good enough to make that happen. We want to be serious competitors, and I think we will be. When "Chaleco" got his hands on the bike for the first time, in Cairo, he won the first special straightaway! And, since the Pharaons Rally, we have done other tests which have enabled us to improve still further. Still, it is more realistic to think of victory in 2011. For now, we will be trying to win some stages and make a good entry to the challenge. It's just the beginning of a great adventure, and we are very confident.

ROAD SAFETY: WORKING WITH THE NATIONAL ROAD SAFETY AGENCY (Agencia Nacional de Seguridad Vial)

As was the case for the 2009 event, large numbers of spectators are expected along the tracks and roads used by the rally. During reconnaissance trips, areas having easy access were earmarked as possible public areas where we could envisage creating safe, protected spaces. Police forces have been involved in the selection of 'public' areas ahead of the race, and will also be involved in ground operation deployment (organisation, marking out, surveillance, flow management, etc.). In Argentina, a partnership has been set up with the national road safety agency (Agencia Nacional de Securidad Vial), with a view to supervising the - sometimes massive - movements of rally fans. For example, 15 vehicles (30 people) will patrol the main routes leading to the 'public' areas, the entries to and exits from towns, and the roads used by assistance vehicles, in addition to those of the local authorities.

-credit: aso