(AFP) – May 13, 2008
PARIS (AFP) — The Dakar Rally switches continents next year with a gruelling 9000 kilometre event planned for Argentina and Chile.
The move from its traditional home in Africa to South America was triggered by the cancellation of this year's rally due to security concerns after four French tourists were murdered in Mauritania in December.
Details of the 2009 route were released by organisers in Paris on Tuesday.
The race featuring 6000km of special stages sets out from Buenos Aires on January 3, with the Dakar caravan crossing the Andes at altitudes of over 4500m into Chile and a stop off at the Pacific Ocean resort of Valparaiso.
It then makes its way back to the Argentine capital's Plaza de la Republica for a January 18 finish.
"It will be the same adventure as Africa with the same ingredients but the terrain is markedly different and the conditions will be difficult," said Dakar director Etienne Lavigne.
"It'a a real Dakar," he added.
"Competitors will encounter new conditions. It'll be the southern hemisphere's summer with temperatures of around 40 degrees and altitude. There'll be sand crossings with big dunes."
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