No respite… but easy does it. The backbone of the Dakar 2016 alternates difficulty and terrain. Between the contrast in relief, temperatures and surfaces, the drivers and their teams will face a real test of their adaptability and will have to re-assess their performance on a daily basis. Above all, the route will become gradually more demanding, incrementally leading them to the second part of the rally: the most demanding special sections are scheduled in this part, while the distance which has already been covered will take its toll on both drivers and their machines. Welcome to the world of extreme endurance.
Program of the 2016 Dakar:
31/12 and 01/01: Administrative and technical checks
02/01: Start podium in Buenos Aires / Prologue / Liaison to Bivouac “0” close to Rosario
03/01: Buenos Aires – Villa Carlos Paz
04/01: Villa Carlos Paz – Termas de Río Hondo
05/01: Termas de Río Hondo – Jujuy
06/01: Jujuy – Jujuy
07/01: Jujuy – Uyuni
08/01: Uyuni – Uyuni
09/01: Uyuni – Salta
10/01: Rest day in Salta
11/01: Salta – Belén
12/01: Belén – Belén
13/01: Belén – La Rioja
14/01: La Rioja – San Juan
15/01: San Juan – Villa Carlos Paz
16/01: Villa Carlos Paz – Rosario
BUENOS AIRES, SALTA AND ROSARIO
Nearly fifteen million people live in Greater Buenos Aires, which has emerged as an economic and cultural hub of South America. The striking diversity of its neighbourhoods, from the modernity of Puerto Madero to the faded charm of Palermo and the bustling quarters of La Boca and San Telmo, thrills even the most widely travelled visitors. For the Dakar, however, the Argentine capital represents much more than a tourist destination. It is, above all, here that it all began (again)! After the 2008 edition was cancelled, the rally needed to bounce back and Porteños welcomed drivers from Europe, Africa and Asia with the same enthusiasm as it reserved for its own countrymen. For everyone, the memories of the crowds gathered on the Avenue 9 de Julio, at the foot of the Obelisk, symbolised the start of a new era. From that night onwards, the Dakar felt welcomed with a passion. Even once the 2009 honeymoon period was over, demonstrations of mutual appreciation continued between the rally competitors and their hosts in Buenos Aires, which became the setting for the start and finish of the first three South American editions, as well as the return last year. This time, it is a bit by chance, and for many, destiny that has shown the Dakar the way to Buenos Aires.
Situated at the foot of the Andes Cordillera, Salta prospered for a long time as a trading centre. The city also played an important role in the fight for independence led by General Belgrano. Today, it is essentially a major tourist centre for adventurers heading for the mountains. Travellers also take advantage of Salta’s majestic cathedral, which is one of the country’s most remarkable religious buildings. It might be useful for the Dakar’s competitors, who will only be at the half-way point in their journey on reaching Salta, to pass by the cathedral to say a few prayers…
The blue and white stripes proudly worn by the football or basketball national teams, champions the world over through victories at the World Cup and the Olympic Games, were originally created in Rosario. In the middle of the War of Independence, in 1812 to be precise, General Manuel Belgrano designed and hoisted the Argentinean flag for the first time, and chose the colours of the cockade used by the revolutionaries he was leading. Since then, this city, on the right bank of the Rio Parana, has been prosperous, benefiting from a geographically favourable position, and is at an equal distance from both Buenos Aires and Cordoba, the two cities which surpass it in terms of population. Rosario has in particular won over the hearts of Argentineans, thanks to a few of its natives. The most famous of these remains Ernesto Guevara who, long before becoming the “Che”, was born in Rosario. Much later, it was also here that Lionel Messi first began playing football, in particular for the Newell’s Old Boys, a club for which Diego Maradona also played a few matches. By playing host to the drivers and teams of the Dakar during the first few days of 2014, Rosario became a part of the rich national history of motor sports. This time it will be the ultimate target for all the drivers and teams.