For its 35th edition, the sixth to be organized in South America, the Dakar will set off on January 5th from Rosario, Argentina finishing in Valparaiso, Chile on January 18th, after a brief visit to Bolivia, which will become the rally’s 28th host country. The 2014 route, with several marathon stages on the agenda, will test the competitors’ race tactics as much as their endurance.
Lionel Messi and the “Che” were both born in Rosario, the poet Pablo Neruda lived in Valparaiso for many years, and Simon Bolivar, known as El Libertador, has remained the continent’s ultimate reference almost two centuries after his death. During the 2014 Dakar, each competitor will draw inspiration from these heroes who have influenced the history of the places which will be visited. The drivers and teams participating will have to rely on their physical resistance and their competitive spirit in particular, imbued with the values of off-road races, to achieve their objective. Although the Dakar’s first visit to Bolivia will principally focus on discovery, the competitors’ technical and sporting performances will essentially be tested in Argentina and Chile, which will be explored in very different way compared to the rally’s five previous editions in South America.
The route, which will pass through North West Argentina’s canyons and sandy valleys, or the dunes of the Atacama Desert will require skillful driving as well the careful management of mechanical aspects. With longer special stages and several marathon stages, the 2014 Dakar’s competitors will be constantly required to tackle extreme endurance conditions.
Among the rally’s participants, whose entry applications are welcomed from May 15th, this year the Dakar will be giving pride of place to the future generations, ten places are reserved for Dakar newcomers who have won their entry during the five races featured on the Dakar Challenge’s calendar. Among them, two Dakar Series races will be held in South America: the Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina and the first edition of the Desafio Inca, in Peru.
The Dakar Challenge Calendar
31st May/2ndJune: Tecate Score Baja 500 (Mexico)
15th /22nd June: Desafio Ruta 40 (Argentina)
20th /23rd June: Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race (Botswana)
12th /14th July: Reno 500 (USA)
20th/27th September: Australasian Safari (Australia)
3rd /6th October: Desafio Inca (Peru)
The key dates of the 2014 Dakar
Opening of entries:15th May
Deadline for submitting motorcycle entries: 7th July 2013
Deadline for submitting entries: 1st November
Loading of European vehicles: end of November
Technical verifications in Rosario: 2nd to 4th January 2014
Start ceremony: 4th January
DAKAR: 5th to 18th January
Rest day: 11th January in Salta (Argentina)
Endurance to the fore…
For its 6th edition in South America, the Dakar is continuing its exploration of the Argentinean and Chileans regions, by organising a visit to Bolivia. The 2014 route has been marked out between Rosario in Argentina and Valparaiso in Chile, with the aim of testing the endurance qualities of the Dakar’s drivers and teams. Changes regarding the format of the stages have been thought up to facilitate the management of the race and the strategy of each team.
A visit to Bolivia…
The organisers of the Dakar were keen to discover new regions and were won over by the Bolivian landscapes, ranked among the most stunning ones that the continent has to offer. Nevertheless, their wish to take the 2014 edition’s competitors there had to be weighed up against the geographical and climatic difficulties, which make the preparation of a “classic” stage through Bolivia harder. So the Dakar’s route will cross the border in a particular way, with a marathon stage in the south of the country. This unique format, which may only concern motorcycles, will allow a new strategy to be tested on the rally, opening the way to new possibilities.
Several marathon stages…
The organizers’ extensive knowledge of Argentina and Chile will allow the stages to be meticulously marked out. To highlight the physical and strategic aspects comprising the essence of off-road races, the 2014 Dakar will boast longer special stages and shorter liaison sections. The distinctive features of North West Argentina’s tracks and the dunes will require the drivers to be attentive at all times and the Atacama Desert will appear in a new light with the difficulties that the vehicles will face there. With several marathon stages on the agenda, managing mechanics will be even more vital to ensuring the vehicles’ performance.
Motto : In Unity and Freedom
Capital : Buenos Aires
Population : 40.6 million inhabitants
Surface area : 2, 766, 890 sq. km
Currency : Argentinean peso
The leading lights of Argentinean sport : Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi (football), Guillermo Vilas, Gabriela Sabatini, Juan Martin Del Potro (tennis), Manu Ginobili (basketball), Juan Manuel Fangio (motor racing), Angel Cabrera (golf), Carlos Monzon (boxing), Hugo Porta, Juan Martín Hernandez (rugby)
With almost 3,500 kilometres between the Bolivian border and the extremities of Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina is the size of a country-continent. Its expanse, both from north to south and east to west, gives the country several different facets. In terms of climate, relief or way of life, Argentina’s variety is characterised by the many regions which form it. While there are many different types of scenery, the Argentineans’ love of motor sports is uniformly spread throughout the country. From Buenos Aires, where the competitors first experienced mingling with the crowd, to San Miguel to Tucuman, where the 2013 rest day provided an opportunity for a spectacular party, to Mar del Plata, whose beaches were deserted by holidaymakers who wanted to meet the drivers of the 2012 Dakar, the rally’s popularity has never waned. More than 13 million spectators have come to see the spectacle in Argentina provided by the Dakar since it came to South America.
The Argentinians have experienced great moments of happiness with the drivers who have represented them in the rally. In recent years, their flag bearers have proved their ability to succeed in almost every category. In January, Orlando Terranova followed in the footsteps of Lucio Alvarez by also finishing in 5th place in the final over standings, with a victory in the special stage into the bargain. In the motorcycle category, Javier Pizzolito also lived up to expectations by finishing in the Top 10. And in particular, the Patronelli field day continued with the victory of Marcos, who won his second quad title, bringing the family’s number of trophies to four, following that of his brother Alejandro the year before.
Surrounded by mountains, Bolivia has played a singular role in South America’s history. The whole continent was influenced by the actions of the country’s first president, Simón Bolivar, who was not only the victorious fighter for the independence of the former Upper Peru in 1925, but in particular the most active opponent in the fight against the Spanish crown. El Libertador thus played a decisive role in the emancipation of Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela, and also supported the project of a political confederation bringing together all the countries in Latin America.
The country which was named after this renowned hero is still highly respected throughout the world, but above all, it has become a major tourist destination due to its geographical assets. Visitors are initially attracted by La Paz, the highest capital in the world, situated at an altitude of 3,660 m. They then head for Lake Titicaca, which Bolivia shares with Peru, as well as for Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world.
Motto : By reason or by force
Capital : Santiago de Chile
Population : 16.7 million inhabitants
Surface area : 756, 950 sq. km
Currency : Chilean peso
The leading lights of Chilean sport : Marcelo Salas, Ivan Zamorano (football), Fernando Gonzalez, Nicola Massu, Marcelo Rios (tennis), Carlo de Gavardo (motorcycling)
Long and thin, bound on one side by the Pacific Ocean and on the other by the Andes, Chile is one of the longest countries in the world. With 4,300 km from the north to the south, (almost 5,400 km of coastline in total!) Chile is unique in this respect. On the other hand, its width never exceeds 349 km and drops down to about 15 kilometres in the south. This thread-like stretch of land boasts every type of climate and a wide variety of reliefs.
From the Atacama Desert, renowned for being the most arid in the world, to the Andes Cordillera, the Dakar’s drivers and teams have experienced the extensive variety of landscapes which Chile has to offer for the past four years. As for sport, the Chileans have become used to seeing the rally through the eyes of their favourite driver, Francisco Lopez, winner of ten stages since the Dakar has taken place in his country. In 2013, Chaleco struggled for the 2nd place until the last day before losing it due to a twist of fate, but he managed to savour the pleasure of getting on the 3rd step of the podium in Santiago, in front of the Palacio de La Moneda. His many supporters can definitely rely on him to aim for victory in Valparaiso. They will also be keeping an eye on the young quad rider Ignacio Casale, who is also capable of a brilliant performance, having finished in 2nd place behind Marcos Patronelli in January.