Dakar: 2015 Preview

The 2015 edition of the Dakar Rally begins in Buenos Aires on 3rd January.

The rally will also pass through Chile and Bolivia before finishing in Argentina on January 17th after 13 stages of competition.

The four major groups that compete in Dakar are motorcycles, quads, cars and trucks, and the race is open to both professional and amateur competitors.

Defending champion 2014 in the car category Joan Roma, said: “It will not be easy. It is never easy to win the Dakar.

“This year it may be even tougher than usual as there will be quite a lot of competition with the involvement of such a team as Peugeot with their very good drivers,” he added.

The 2015 Dakar

The only way to complete the Dakar is through a combination of endurance and determination. The competitors will have an additional problem to resolve on the 9,000 kilometres to be covered in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia: adopting and maintaining the right momentum, while the route continuously endeavours to break it. Depending on the day, both the setting and the pace will change, moving from rocky routes to desert dunes and from endurance stages to extreme sprints. Given the competitors’ inability to recognize clearly identifi ed sections, in particular they must capitalise upon their ability to adapt… and to control their stamina. The marathon stages will defi nitely remind them of this basic rule of off-road races.

Marathon Stages

The Dakar tests competitors and their vehicles in extreme endurance. The marathon stages, where drivers cannot use their assistance teams, are a particular test of their ability to independently manage their mechanics. This year, cars and trucks, which have not taken part in a marathon stage since 2005, will have to tackle this additional difficulty.

Split over two days, a marathon stage involves some of the competitors spending the night in an isolated bivouac. The vehicles are taken into a closed area, where only help between competitors is authorised. Despite the technical challenge which this constraint represents, the drivers also enjoy a different, highly convivial atmosphere. In Uyuni, it will be the car teams which will spend a night apart, followed by the motorcyclists and quad bikers the next day. The truck category will have its own dedicated bivouac in the middle of the Atacama Desert.

To make organisation of the marathon stages possible, a new system has been set up at the heart of the extended stay in Iquique. So, on 11th January, three races will take place on three different routes and in two countries. This meant there was also a need to incorporate staggered rest days for the motorcyclists and quad bikers.

Different Routes

For several years now, the organisers have used their in-depth knowledge of the South American terrain to refi ne the routes and off er specifi c features for each category. For the 2015 edition, the motorcyclists and quad bikers will face an additional diffi culty, with a particularly dense second week: four marathon days in total. 35% of the kilometres they cover without the cars and trucks will be in the form of special stages.

Different routes and rest days also gives the car teams the opportunity to fully demonstrate their potential, both in terms of driving and navigation. With 1,382km of open space (a third of the special stages) the cars will be able to compete without being slowed down by overtaking… and will also enjoy routes on virgin terrain. The truck drivers will find themselves in this situation for more than 600km.

Three Countries: Argentina, Chile, Bolivila

2015-dakar-route

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