The 35th running of the grueling Dakar rally race will once again be disputed in South America, organizers announced today (March 21).
The endurance off-road race will be start Jan. 5, 2013, in Lima, Peru, and finish Jan. 20 in Santiago, Chile, organizers announced on the official Dakar website. The race will take competitors on an 8,000-kilometre journey, through a variety of challenging terrains, across the Andes Mountains and into Argentina before heading back west to the Pacific coast of the continent.
“Far from a ride along the coast between Lima and Santiago, the sequence of difficulties that we are planning promises to provide a scorching racing scenario, with exceptional as the watchword,” says Dakar director Etienne Lavigne. “Peru, Argentina and Chile, explored on a north to south journey, will offer the Dakar a different angle of attack on the Pacific Coast, the Atacama's dunes and the Andes Mountains.”
This year, 443 vehicles started at Mar del Plata, Argentina, and 249 were still running at the finish line in Lima. The 2012 winners were: Stephane Peterhansel, who has won the race 10 times in various classes, and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret in the car class; Cyril Despres in motorcycles; Gerard De Rooy in truck class; and Alejandro Patronelli in the quad-bike class.
The marathon race, formerly known as The Paris-Dakar, was first run in 1979 between Paris, France, and Dakar, Senegal, with nearly 200 entries. That’s the way it would be for the next 20 years with the exception of 1992, when the race finished in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1994 when participants raced to Dakar and back to Paris, in 1995 and 1996 when the start line was in Granada, Spain, and 1997 when the race started in Dakar before heading to Agadez, Niger, and returning to the capital of Senegal. During its first 30-year history, the race also started in places such as Granada, Barcelona, Marseille and Lisbon.
The 2008 race was cancelled due to security concerns and fears of terrorist attacks in Mauritania and a new chapter for The Dakar started in 2009, when the race was moved to South America and where it has been run the last four years.
Some of automobile racing’s better-known names, like Belgium’s Jacky Ickx and world rally champion Carlos Sainz of Spain, have won the famed race. Oddly enough, the man who began it all and whose passion drove it for many years, French motorcyclist Thierry Sabine, never won The Dakar.
Registration for the 2013 race in all the categories will open on May 15.