Bolivia gets taste of Dakar Rally action

The 2014 Dakar Rally will be the sixth to be held in South America following its switch from its traditional home of Africa due to safety reasons. The race will run from January 5-18, commencing in Rosario, Argentina, before travelling to Bolivia and finishing in Valparaiso, Chile.

Dakar Rally organisers said in a statement: “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 constantly be required to tackle extreme endurance conditions.”

Race director Etienne Lavigne added, according to Eurosport: “It’ll be a very different Dakar 2014 than those that have come before because we’ll be visiting three countries: Argentina, Bolivia for the first time, and then Chile, a country already known by the Dakar, and reach Valparaiso, which will be the finishing point of the Dakar 2014.”

The host towns will be announced in April with the finished route not confirmed until November. The Dakar Rally was moved in 2007 following the murder of four French tourists in Mauritania by a pro-Al Qaeda group in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa, as well as the killing of three Mauritanian soldiers. The incident led to the cancellation of that year’s event and its switch to South America. The 2013 Dakar Rally finished on January 20. This year’s route of the legendary endurance event took in Peru, Chile and Argentina.