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For its 4th South American edition, the SA-Dakar’s route will be experiencing a change of scenery in 2012, with, instead of the previous years’ loops, a journey that will take the competitors from Mar del Plata, in Argentina, to Lima, the capital of Peru, via Chile and the dunes of the Atacama Desert.
With the announcement of the route for the Dakar 2012, now also the organisers have approached the South American map from a new angle, to provide a different perspective. Between the 1st and 15th of January, the riders, drivers and co-pilots will be tackling a route that measures 9,000 kilometers’ in total, navigating between oceans, mountains and desserts.
The rally route will take in the familiar terrain of Argentina and Chile as well as visiting Peru for the first time.
The event was first moved to South America in 2009 after the 2008 edition had to be cancelled at short notice following a tourist threat.
The 2012 Dakar will feature five stages apiece in Argentina and Chile and four stages in Peru - "We re-find the route, the last that we designed, within 2007 in Africa and that was between Lisbon and Dakar. In this one we're going to go from Mar del Plata on the 1st of January to go all the way to Lima in Peru where we will arrive on 15th January. Between these two dates we will be hosted by three wonderful countries Argentina, Chile and Peru and this also means we'll have some wonderful special stages, with a ratio of five five four that's to say five sports stages in Argentina, five sports stages in Chile and four sports stages in Peru. Some racing every day and that includes the 1st of January and the 15th of January so again the prospect of having some really wonderful special stages in terms of scenery, difficulty and variety,” says Etienne Lavigne, Director of Dakar Rally.
In addition to visiting Peru for the first time, race director Etienne Lavigne also confirmed that there would be 14 days of racing, rather than the 12 in 2011.
The race will start at the coastal city Mar del Plata, 400km south-west of Buenos Aires, in Argentina on New Year's Day and will finish in Lima, Peru on 15th January.
Since its arrival in South America the event has enjoyed greater success than anticipated.
3.5 million fans turning out to watch the race in Argentina this year and a further 1.5 million in Chile with the profits made far eclipsing the costs associated with hosting the event.
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