23. December 2011
In a few days one of the toughest motorcycle racing tests in the world will get underway: the Dakar Rally, which is taking place from 1 to 15 January 2012, running from the shores of the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Mar del Plata, Argentina will be the site of the start of the Dakar endurance rally, which is taking place for the fourth successive time in South America instead of Europe and Africa, where this legendary race was born. From the Atlantic coast, 189 motorcycle riders will cross the Andes and the Atacama Desert accompanied by quads, cars and trucks, all with the goal of reaching Lima, Peru, 9,000 kilometers away, in the shortest possible time. For the first time the race will end in Peru; the previous three years’ rallies circled back to finish in Buenos Aires.
The favorites to win are perpetual rivals Cyril Despres and Marc Coma, both riding KTMs with Akrapovič exhaust systems. However, the engine size limit of 450 cc has already shown that other fast competitors can also break through to the top. It will also be interesting to watch the first appearance by enduro racer Johnny Aubert in this race, and in Akrapovič’s home country we’ll be paying special attention to Miran Stanovnik on his black KTM Rally Replica 450, embellished with the red scorpion logo. Miran is competing in Dakar for the fifteenth time!
The race will take place from 1 to 15 January, with the start and five stages in Argentina, a day’s rest and five stages in Chile, and the last four stages in Peru. We’ll on the edge of our seats while we watch. Good luck to all the guys and girls competing!
Photo: Edmunds J. / KTM images, Črt Slavec