Chile to Host Final Stretch of Dakar Rally 2013
PARIS, FRANCE – The podium for the 2013 Dakar Rally will be in front of La Moneda Palace. Chile was announced today as the host of the final stages of the race, which will begin in Peru.
The director of the competition, Etienne Lavigne, confirmed Peru, Argentina and Chile as the organizers of the rally, which will start January 6th in Lima. It will be the 5th South American version of the Dakar Rally. “South America again received an extraordinary Dakar this year and the next year we will go back to the three countries where we were in January,” he said at a presentation in which they announced the stages for next year’s race.
The famous competition of cars and motorbikes, which was canceled in 2008 because of the fear of terror attacks on its traditional route in northeast Africa, moved to South America in 2009. Four editions have been run successfully here and they are preparing for the fifth successive race through the continent.
“The Pacific coast, the dunes of the Atacama Desert and the mountains of the Andes will set the tone for the Dakar Rally,” said Lavigne. For the first time, the Pacific is the center of the race, and Argentina will serve as neither the starting point nor its end.
Referring to the finish line in Chile, Lavigne anticipated that the podium will be installed next to La Moneda in Santiago, stressing that this was one of the wishes of President Sebastián Piñera.
As a major attraction of the new edition, the new race will count with a special chronometer at about 3,000 meters high, and racers will cross the Andes, the mountain chain between Chile and Argentina, at two points, first from west to east and then the other way around.
Other big news are the difficulties of the new path of the race. From the departure via a desert route, racers must become acclimatized immediately to extreme conditions from the 5th of January – an earlier date than the years before.
The desert stages were the downfall of many riders this year, including Chile’s own Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez. Although he won the first stage of the race, he had a nasty fall in the first Chilean stage near Copiapó and was unable to continue.