The 2009 Dakar will be held in South America from Jan 3rd to 18th. It is 6,000 miles (10,000 km) and 15 days from Buenos Aires, through the Pampas, Patagonia, over the Andes to Chile, and then up the Pacific Coast to the Atacama desert and over the Andes again back to Buenos Aires.
As you recall last year’s race in Africa was canceled due to a terror threat, just hours before the start. So this year the organizers felt it is still not safe to go back to Africa, and came up with a new and exciting route in South America instead. We do not know much about the terrain; supposedly there is quite a lot of desert and sand, not sure how much of that is true dunes like in Africa, but I am sure it will be spectacular. it is also going to be VERY long, many days are of 700 and 800 km… brutal.
I will be driving the same car I drove in the Central European Rally. The car of course had to go through some serious repair and overhaul after what Nadav and I did to it in Romania. But it drives well and it looks great, here is how it looked earlier this week in Le Havre, France, where the race vehicles were loaded on a ship leaving for Buenos Aires.
With me this year is Aviv Kadshai. Aviv is a very experienced rally driver, having participated in the Dakar twice (once on a bike, the other in a car) and finished twice! He also finished the Pharos rally in Egypt, a European Rally, and participated several times in Baja races in the US. I am lucky to have Aviv with me and hope to learn a lot from him.
So here is a short video to give you a sense of the terrain: