The route for the 2013 Dakar rally was officially announced in Paris on Wednesday.
The 34th edition of the event and fifth in Latin America takes competitors over 8 400 kilometres of challenging terrain and for the first time almost all of it along the Pacific coastline between Lima in Peru and Santiago in Chile.
The races’s most successful driver and 2012 car champion Stephen Peterhansel of France said he’s looking forward to the challenge of trying to defend his title.
“All year long we prepare the car and we prepare ourselves physically. The course is unveiled a few weeks before the start of the rally and this is when the excitement starts and we really want to be there and be out on the course as soon as possible. We’ve seen some nice landscapes; we’ve seen some of the things which could be more complicated such as in Peru and all of that really excites you.”
For the first time in the race’s history the desert stages will make their appearance in the first few days of the rally in Peru – the Atacama Desert will also feature as will a trip up the Andes for good measure.
Next year’s race will also feature the return of two time world rally champion and 2010 winner Carlos Sainz of Spain.
Some 459 vehicles over the four categories will take part in the race which starts on January 5 and ends 15 days later.