Dakar Rally chief Etienne Lavigne said that the next edition of the competition which takes off from Mar del Plata, Argentina next January first and ends in Lima, Peru, fifteen days later, is the most renewed and challenging version since the rally moved to South America in 2008.
“It’s a completely different Dakar. It has taken much time and effort to organize the event in three different countries but it is a challenge for us”, said Lavigne in Santiago where the official presentation in Chile of the rally took place.
The display of the 2012 rally on this opportunity is almost lineal, “from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean”.
In the three previous editions in Latinamerica the competition took off from Buenos Aires, continued in Chile and ended again in Buenos Aires.
This edition also includes Peru with four legs Arequipa, Nasca, Pisco and Lima.
“The south of Peru is going to be very difficult”, warned Lavigne who underlined that the two most demanding legs of the event will be precisely between Arequipa, Nasca and Pisco. “You can’t imagine how difficult”.
“They are legs of desert and dunes, short but very dense and technical”, said Lavigne.
In the car category the news is the absence of Volkswagen which had dominated indisputably the competition in recent years including top position in the last three.
However Lavigne points out that the absence of the German brand will make the event more competitive and with greater emotion.
“My feeling is that we have a very interesting competition. It’s more open, many good pilots with different vehicles. So far we knew or could anticipate that Volkswagen was going to be in the podium, but not this year”, said the Dakar rally chief.
One of the pilots who will be competing is Nasser Al-Attiyah from Qatar who normally runs with Volkswagen, next January first will be taking off with a Hummer from the US team led by Robby Gordon.