Paraguay to Host Dakar Rally in 2017
One of the world’s most grueling and dangerous races is set to return to South America next year, with a whole new route.
The Dakar Rally is widely known as one of the most challenging marathon car, motorbike and lorry races out there, due to the long route across grueling treacherous terrain. This, though, merely adds to its prestige (also, not many races include lorries!). Originally situated in Africa, the race shifted over to South America in 2009 due to security concerns, for those of you wondering why The Dakar doesn’t actually pass through Dakar. While this year’s race ran through Argentinia and Bolivia, Paraguay may be added as host to the 2017 edition, with its capital city Asuncion as the starting stage.
After that opening stage in Paraguay, the route will stretch through Bolivia for five stages, passing through the capital La Paz. Argentina will be the stage for the final week, where contestants will go down the Andes mountain range to finish once again in Buenos Aires. All that adds up as a total of 8,000 to 9,000 kilometers of treacherous terrain, only to be conquered by those with the highest skills and strongest mettle.
Race director Etienne Lavigne noted that Paraguay was the race’s 29th country, and revealed that the visit to Bolivia would “take on a new dimension on this 39th edition, with five stages in total for jaunts along the shores of Lake Titicaca and a rest day in the highest capital city in the world, La Paz”. This year’s Dakar Rally was won by Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel with the motorbike honors going to Australian Toby Price, although disaster also broke out when a competitor ploughed into a crowd and injured 10 spectators.
Such troubles probably won’t deter contestants though, who have viewed that risk as merely part of the package. Spectators can consider themselves warned. The rally has racked up more than 70 fatalities since it began in 1978, making it probably racing’s equivalent of climbing Everest or K2.
This story was written in-house, with an AFP report as the original source and image from AFP.