Tearing its way down the driest desert on earth and winding through its longest continental mountain range, the world’s most extreme motor sport endurance race will culminate in the heart of the Chilean capital in 2013.
Last week, race organizers confirmed La Moneda, the presidential palace, as the site of the finish line and award ceremony for next year’s Dakar Rally after weeks of debate over the most appropriate place in Santiago to welcome the 21st century adventurers.
Chile, along with Peru and Argentina, has hosted the historic rally since 2009, when the event was moved from the African continent for security reasons.
“South America again hosted an exceptional Dakar this year and next year’s edition will see the race return to the same three countries in January,” Race Director Etienne Lavigne said as he announced the venues for the 2013 edition.
“The Pacific coast, the dunes of the Atacama Desert and the mountains of the Andes will set the tone for the Dakar Rally,” he said.
The race will begin on January 6, 2013 in the Peruvian capital, Lima, before crossing the desert border that separates Chile from its northern neighbor, passing through the infamous Atacama desert – the driest in the world.
From the searing desert sands, the off-road motorbikes and cars will then climb the Andes mountain range that separate Chile and Argentina, weaving between the two countries as they navigate the often impenetrable stretches of sheer rock and volcano.
“We are thrilled,” Gabriel Ruiz Tagle, Chile’s sports subsecretary, said to La Tercera.
“This is a magnificent opportunity for local riders to make history. It’s going to be a special, really symbolic show,” he said. “We are committed to the four stages and the six cities involved; this is set to be a massive show for Chileans.”
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