Reconnaissance is complete In October all thoughts in Chile were with the miners of Copiapo, stuck then freed from the entrails of the Atacama Desert, after 69 days under ground. During this time, David Castera and the Dakar reconnaissance ...
Reconnaissance is complete
In October all thoughts in Chile were with the miners of Copiapo, stuck then freed from the entrails of the Atacama Desert, after 69 days under ground. During this time, David Castera and the Dakar reconnaissance team criss-crossed the region on the final trip to Chile before the rally passes through this coming January.
This last mission was to write and design the road book for the six Chilean stages. The route for the four vehicles was particularly sandy. The specials feature long dune sectors where the teams will have to employ their obstacle clearing skills. Among the potential problems to take into account, Dakar Sporting Director David Castera had to anticipate the different weather conditions that can change the consistency of the sand. "The dunes are a lot more difficult to negotiate when the sand is soft and thus less weight-bearing. This is precisely the case during the January southern summer, so we made sure that the rally vehicles will be able to pass everywhere." Navigating errors in this decor of mountainous sand, which is delicate to negotiate could result in minutes if not hours of nightmares. "I won't be specific about which stage, but there are certain places where the dunes are so high that it is better not to set off towards the bottom of a basin, because it would then be impossible to get out without getting help", warned David Castera.
The course is now laid out, validated and recorded. With the notes jotted along the route, the time consuming work of creating a coherent transcription for the definitive version of the road book has yet to begin. The document includes designs corresponding to the visual bearings and the direction indications that will guide the competitors the entire length of the stage. Printed and stored at undisclosed locations, they will be distributed to the drivers and navigators only at the end of each stage in order to begin to work on the particularities of the following day's stage.