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THE ROUTE

2010 Course: the sand asset

The triptyque designed for the 2010 Dakar on the territories of Argentina and Chile promises to each kind of driver a sequence adapted to their qualities. The long stay in the Atacama Desert will be the climax of a 9000 kilometres loop through the continent. But the global balance of the course with varied difficulties force all to be consistent and careful to the end.

Dakar 2010 - The route

» See the map in large size (PDF, 677 ko)

Act I: Finding the right tempo

Speaking a smooth entry would minimize the first three stages of the 2010 Dakar. The days will be long and not only in road section. On already very demanding specials, the most skilful competitors will find an opportunity to build on a position from which they will be able to capitalize. The hard soil will be favourable to technical exploits for its experts in trajectories. They will however have to rapidly switch talents to take on the first little dunes of white sand that they will meet close to Fiambala.

Act II: The dunes of Atacama!

Those who have already visited the Paso San Francisco in 2009 will this time go there using the opposite direction. The road heading there, known as one of the most beautiful in the world will serve as a break before taking on a detailed exploration of the Atacama Desert. The driest part of the world that the competitors will this time discover all the way to the city of Iquique, is the kingdom of dune crossings. During five stages, cut by a rest day at Antofagasta, the riders and crews will head to the north of Chile where off-road mileage will be considerable. It will be without doubt the toughest part of the rally, with reduced road sections: the stop watch will never stop.

Act III: The road of contrast

A change of landscape will occur every day from then on. While there is only one word to talk about sand, all types of soil will, on the other hand, be experienced on the return trip to Buenos Aires, from dunes to flat portions as well as sandy paths that go up the hills of the Mendoza Province. Added to the terrain, it is also visually that the contrasts will be stunning for the competitors as they leave the contours of the Andes Cordillera. On this last part, two stages are long and demanding enough to provoke significant gaps. At a time when bodies and machines will be tiring which should have an impact, the final positions will not be set.

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L'Argentine

With nearly 3500 kilometres between the Bolivian border and the extremities of the Land of Fire, Argentina is the size of a state-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, it is Argentina's variety which characterises the numerous regions which form it. While there are many different types of scenery, the Argentinean's love of motor sport is uniformly spread throughout the country. From Buenos Aires, where the competitors got a first taste of their passion, to Córdoba, where the aficionados of the traditional round of the WRC turned out in force, the rally's popularity remained constant.

The Argentineans experienced a number of disappointments concerning competitors representing them on the event. Their flag carrier Orlando Terranova, at the wheel of a BMW X3, left the race prematurely after having justified his place in the top 10 over the first nine stages. His fans switched their patriotic allegiance to the quad rider Marcos Patronelli, second in his class at the finish in Buenos Aires.

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le Chili

Long and thin, Chile, whose limits are decided by the Pacific Ocean and the Andes chain of mountains, is in fact the longest country in the world. With 4300 kilometres of coastline from north to south (nearly 5400 kilometres of coast in total!) Chile has no rivals in this domain. On the other hand, its width never exceeds more than 349 kilometres and shrinks down to just fifteen or so kilometres in the south. Over such a huge length all types of climate are present, as well as many different types of relief.

From the Atacama Desert, reputed to be the driest in the world, to the mountains of the Andes, the riders and drivers of the Dakar experienced a rich diversity of landscapes. While the Chileans lost all hope of witnessing their favourite, Francisco Lopez, triumph almost from the very first stage, 'Chaleco' nevertheless offered them a moment of unforgettable euphoria by winning the special on the day the rally came into Chilean territory. President Michelle Bachelet travelled to Valparaíso in person to congratulate her countryman on his performance.

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