The World’s toughest rally, Dakar, was given a formal presentation today in the Pavillion Kléber in the French capital, Paris. The 2015 Dakar kicks off on January 4th in Buenos Aires, wends it way through Chile and Bolivia returning to Argentina’s capital on the 17th after having traversed more than 5,500 miles.
The Dakar first travelled to Argentina and Chile in 2009. Since that first race the Dakar has adopted a distinctly Latino flavor, reflecting its openness, its historical aim to create exchanges with others and its flexibility, enabling it to adapt to any situation. Without changing the nature of the race, the Dakar became richer as a result of these new cultures. Around forty South American vehicles joined in that first adventure: last January, nearly three times that number participated, with representatives from the highest levels, from Ignacio Casale to Orly Terranova to “Chaleco” Lopez and “Chavo” Salvatierra.
Over the course of the past seven years, the Dakar has welcomed many drivers. It has also been invited to visit new countries, which have overwhelmed us with their enthusiasm. As a result of the loyalty of Argentina and Chile, we are used to crossing the stunning contours of the Andes Cordillera, and have explored the Atacama Desert, which will be to the fore once again this year with a veritable extravaganza in Iquique. Meanwhile, Peru, a previous and future Dakar partner, took even the toughest drivers by surprise with its chains of Sahara-like dunes, while Bolivia dazzled them with the Salar de Uyuni and in particular the smiling faces of its inhabitants. Above all, these varied landscapes create new opportunities, year after year, by increasing the number of separate routes, the marathon stages, and even alternate rest days! The 2015 Dakar will be based on the expertise acquired since 2009 and will be like no other.