Hello my dear amigos! Continuing with our month’s theme, the Summer in Argentina, we will talk about the most famous rally competition in the world. The one and only Dakar. On this occasion, the 2017 competition is being held in three countries from 2nd – 14th January: Paraguay (for the first time in the Rally’s history), Argentina and Bolivia. Different visitors at our Buenos Aires Wine Tastings ask me about this important event. Which for me is very entertaining, but also another perfect excuse to grab your glass of wine and follow the news on this fantastic competition.
For those who never heard about this magnificent tournament, or those who might think this is just another common sport event, there is one word that defines the Dakar for its participants: TOUGH. Yes, the Dakar goes through the most difficult environments for the different vehicles and pilots that take part of the event. They have to struggle against the most dangerous forces of mother nature besides the other contenders. The participants from all over the world compete in different categories: Motorcycles, Quads, Cars, Trucks and the new category UTV (Utility Task Vehicles).
Let’s take a peek to what Mark Coma, Sports Director of the Dakar 2017, explained about this edition:
«The route of the Dakar 2017 translates the values of the rally raid with an extreme physical challenge that will take the pilots to a maximum level of endurance: 7 specials of more than 400 kilometers of which one exceeds 500 kilometers. The rally will have 6 days that the competition will be over 3000 meters high (almost 5000 mts in Bolivia). The balance of possibilities can be illustrated by an ascending double curve: the level rises to the day of rest, which will be much more than an intermediate term; Then it will be necessary a second ascent to reach the best level for the “Super Belén”, the most extensive stage of the competition (977Km). That is why it is not won until the last loop in Rio Cuarto ».
Lets have a look at the different stages of the Rally Dakar 2017:
1ST STAGE: ASUNCION – RESISTENCIA:
In the most tropical part of the competition the contenders have to go through temperatures higher than 40ºC!!! We have to remember that they will be facing temperatures below 0ºC on the following days!!!
2ND STAGE : RESISTENCIA – SAN MIGUEL DE TUCUMAN
Dust, dust and more dust!!! Patience is the key during this stage, specially for those on Quads and Motorcycles!!!
3RD STAGE: SAN MIGUEL DE TUCUMAN – SAN SALVADOR DE JUJUY
Up they go!!! And crossing rivers!!! The altitudes and the scenery change abruptly. Except for the Trucks, all the rest will have to be vigilant to cross through the dangerous waters.
4TH STAGE: SAN SALVADOR DE JUJUY-TUPIZA
Reaching out to 3500 mts ASL, the highest stages of the Dakar start. Some will be introduced for the first time to the dunes. Always difficult to maneuver the vehicles on this surface, Bolivia sets a difficult test for all competitors.
5TH STAGE: TUPIZA – ORURO
The High Flats of Bolivia are not merciful at all. The racers may be used to the sun intensity by now, but the fatigue is still there. Different environments will be visited, only the ones that respect the tough high standards of mother nature will endure.
6TH STAGE: ORURO – LA PAZ
For those who run fast, the effort will be ended during daylight, but some of the contenders will have to turn on the lights. Going through the tough dunes of the beginning and finishing the stage can be considered a success already.
ONE DAY TO REST
After a whole day of deserved rest, the participants will start with the second part of the competition that starts in LA PAZ and will finish in BUENOS AIRES
7TH STAGE: LA PAZ – UYUNI
The first part of the turning back of the event will bring vast kilometers of massive sun intensity and sandy tracks, never an easy challenge.
8TH STAGE: UYUNI – SALTA
After the High flats in Bolivia, the rally comes back to Argentina. A new set of fords and dunes surrounded by canyons and mountains of different colors are the scenery for this stage. Participants, please not get distracted by the beauty of Salta too much… you never know what is ahead of you.
9TH STAGE: SALTA – CHILECITO
The “Super Belen”!!! The largest stage of the competition. 98% of the stage is off track! Without a doubt, the toughest of the stages of the Dakar 2017. A decisive part which can determine the future winners.
10TH STAGE: CHILECITO – SAN JUAN
The arms, shoulders and legs of the motorists are put to the test, especially in a long test passage that marks the beginning of the day. The special becomes clearly more rolling as it approaches the end. Mistakes are paid too expensive in minutes.
11TH STAGE: SAN JUAN – RIO CUARTO
A stage where different surprises may appear, the contenders have to be very careful. The last dunes of the Dakar are the obstacles of the province of San Juan. In Cordoba, the classic tracks of the World Rally Championship will be used.
12TH STAGE: RIO CUARTO – BUENOS AIRES
The final step of the tournament does not have any traps. All the contenders have lived the big adventure and now the last parts consists in finishing the 786 KM of distance between Rio Cuarto in Cordoba and the City of Buenos Aires.
As you can see, the Rally Dakar is not like any other sport event in the world. Enjoy it while it lasts, is only held once a year!
Thanks for reading my dear amigos.