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Dakar 2012


January 1-15
Countries: Argentina (start), Chile and Peru (finish)

  1. Jan 1:  Mar Del Plata (Arg) to Santa Rosa de la Pampa (Arg) - info
  2. Jan 2:  Santa Rosa de la Pampa (Arg) to San Rafael (Arg) - info
  3. Jan 3:  San Rafael (Arg) to San Juan (Arg) - info
  4. Jan 4:  San Juan (Arg) to Chilecito (Arg) - info
  5. Jan 5:  Chilecito (Arg) to Fiambala (Arg) - info
  6. Jan 6:  Fiambala (Arg) to Copiapo (Chile) - info
  7. Jan 7:  Copiapo (Chile) to Copiapo (Chile) - info
    8 Jan: REST DAY
  8. Jan 9:  Copiapo (Chile) to Antofagasta (Chile) - info
  9. Jan 10:  Antofagasta (Chile) to Iquique (Chile) - info
  10. Jan 11:  Iquique (Chile) to Arica (Chile) - info
  11. Jan 12:  Arica (Chile) to Arequipa (Peru) - info
  12. Jan 13:  Arequipa (Peru) to Nasca (Peru) - info
  13. Jan 14:  Nasca (Peru) to Pisco (Peru) - info
  14. Jan 15:  Pisco (Peru) to Lima (Peru) - info


Click here for the full map of the race


Jan 1 - Mar Del Plata (Arg) to Santa Rosa de la Pampa (Arg)

The seaside resort of Mar del Plata brings to mind lazing around, especially after the competitors have mingled with the crowd during the public presentation ceremony on 31st December. For the short warmup special stage, they will nevertheless be allowed to pass by the seafront, where the small dunes to be crossed will represent the first hurdle. In this simple exercise, the fastest time will establish a first winner and determine each competitor’s position in the rankings. After this challenge, there will be a long liaison section to be covered to Santa Rosa de la Pampa.

MAP - Stage 1

PROFILE - Stage 1

Jan 2 - Santa Rosa de la Pampa (Arg) to San Rafael (Arg)

The competitors will have an early start and a long way to go to join the start of the special stage. But the pace that the drivers will have to keep up on the first very fast part of the route will immediately ensure that they remain extremely focused. After the big, fast bends negotiated on firm ground, the entrance in a backdrop of dunes will significantly slow down their progress. In Nihuil, the grey-coloured sand bears witness to the intense volcanic activity which occurred in the region several thousand years ago.

MAP - Stage 2

PROFILE - Stage 2

Jan 3 - San Rafael (Arg) to San Juan (Arg)

The Andes Cordillera, ever-present throughout the 2012 Dakar, is very demanding for the drivers. The crossing of rivers and the many holes and stones that the drivers will have to avoid during the day’s special stage, will make the terrain particularly gruelling. The sturdiness of the engines will be put to the test if the drivers do not remain attentive. But the altitude and the reliefs provide both magnificent landscapes, with every shade of red possible, and small acrobatic challenges, such as a steep climb that the motorcyclists will definitely have to finish in first gear.

MAP - Stage 3

PROFILE - Stage 3

Jan 4 - San Juan (Arg) to Chilecito (Arg)

The most experienced drivers will be able to enjoy counting the dried-up rivers that they will cross during the day. They will also have time to admire the spectacular canyons of the Province of Rioja, but it is in their best interest to remain extremely vigilant. Nobody will be able to keep up a steady pace during the special stage. Whether it be the navigational subtleties at the end of the route or the small hurdles to overcome, there will be many occasions to lose time here. It is likely that once the rally has reached Chilecito, one or two of the competitors will have already been eliminated from the battle for the title!

MAP - Stage 4

PROFILE - Stage 4

Jan 5 - Chilecito (Arg) to Fiambala (Arg)

Up until now, no one has remained impervious to the white dunes of Fiambalá, where dozens of motorcyclists were bogged down in the sand during their first visit there and which also dashed the hopes of Carlos Sainz twice, in 2009 and in 2011. This year, the course has been split in two to offer optimal driving comfort for all the vehicles. For the motorcyclists, the setbacks will be more likely to result from navigational mistakes rather than from overcoming difficulties on the terrain. They should also experience some thrills when they drive along a narrow track on the mountain side, before they tackle the areas of dunes. The course reserved for cars and trucks is completely different and will take the drivers further in the sand dunes.

MAP - Stage 5

PROFILE - Stage 5

Jan 6 - Fiambala (Arg) to Copiapo (Chile)

The southern summer has several surprises in store, including negative temperatures which may have to be endured by the motorcyclists who will tackle the long climb to Paso San Francisco in the middle of the night, where they will cross the border at an altitude of more than 4 700 metres. Once the race has arrived in Chile, the special stage will initially be decided on a hard terrain, in the harsh aridity of the Atacama Desert. The drivers will no longer be concerned about controlling their maximum speed when they confront the dunes of Copiapó, which will be featured four times on the route. Skilful driving will be the only solution here to avoid competitors from being bogged down at the bottom of a giant sand basin for a long time. Some of them will not be able to avoid this.

MAP - Stage 6

PROFILE - Stage 6

Jan 7 - Copiapo (Chile) to Copiapo (Chile)

The loop will be the biggest challenge of the week, although the beginning of the special stage, which will travel along tracks in the middle of the hills and cacti, might appear easy. But afterwards, the strain of the kilometres covered since Mar del Plata will begin to take their toll, exactly at the time when a great number of dunes will follow one after another. The last string of dunes to be crossed, so near and yet so far from the finish, may well resemble a bivouac which has been transported to the middle of the desert. Thankfully for the latecomers who pitch their tents, the regulations allow vehicles to be presented until 6pm on the rest day.

MAP - Stage 7

PROFILE - Stage 7

Jan 9 - Copiapo (Chile) to Antofagasta (Chile)

At this stage of the competition, the number of contenders for the title will be reduced to a small handful in each category. But despite the significant number of kilometres to be covered, this first stage after the rest day should not be relied on to create decisive gaps. The rally’s longest special stage will be used to allow the competitors to get back into the pace of the competition. On the stone-covered tracks which will lead to Antofagasta, the pace will be rather intense, but this will not prevent the drivers from catching sight of some magnificent views.

MAP - Stage 8

PROFILE - Stage 8

Jan 10 - Antofagasta (Chile) to Iquique (Chile)

A two-part stage will keep the competitors busy who continue the climb to the north of the continent, between oceans and mountains. Two sections separated by a neutralization are on the agenda with varied features and landscapes. At the beginning of the day, the competitors will pass through canyons, drive on clean tracks and sink in the fesh fesh! The second special stage will call upon the drivers’ and co-drivers’ navigational talents, who will have to make a decision based on the very limited landmarks, while remaining focused on the WPM. To reward them for this intensive endeavour, they will drive down the steep descent to Iquique, already featured on the 2010 Dakar route, to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

MAP - Stage 9

PROFILE - Stage 9

STAGE 10: 
Jan 11 - Iquique (Chile) to Arica (Chile)

The drivers will be overcome with even more intense sensations early in the morning. It is precisely at the beginning of the special stage that they will be deeply moved by a spectacular view, combining sand and waves, which continues for several kilometres. The theme will remain constant, since the most experienced experts will be able to surf on the dunes which stretch out for around a hundred kilometres. On the other hand, the difficult fesh-fesh area that will have to be tackled at the end of the special stage will bring everyone back to the tough reality of the long-distance rally.

MAP - Stage 10

PROFILE - Stage 10

STAGE 11: 
Jan 12 - Arica (Chile) to Arequipa (Peru)

For the Dakar’s first day in their country, the Peruvians will be entitled to two special stages and additional kilometres for the motorcyclists. After a day spent switching between off-piste sections and areas interspersed with rivers, they will benefit from a moment of camaraderie: a specific bivouac will be set up for them before they continue exploring Peru. The concept, which had not been tried out again since the camp of Foum Zguid in Morocco during the 2007 Dakar, will also create a major obstacle which will affect the management of the race. The assistance vehicles will not be authorized in the maintenance area, where only the motorcyclists and quad riders will be able to help each other.

MAP - Stage 11

PROFILE - Stage 11

STAGE 12: 
Jan 13 - Arequipa (Peru) to Nasca (Peru)

Only a flight over the region can allow the Nazca Lines, mysterious motifs created in the ground more than 2 000 years ago, to be admired ! The route of the special stage creates another line on the map of Peru which looks like a sand dragon. Although the areas of dunes are evenly spread out, the competitors will definitely remember one of them, which made a deep impression on the reconnaissance team. The dunes follow one after another continuously for almost 20 kilometres, transporting the drivers to a new dimension. As the sand will remain firm in this string of dunes, it will help the drivers to cross them without too much difficulty. But the most skilled dune-crossers will nevertheless be able to create a surprise, in particular three days before the final finish. Those who remember how to perform the “Mauritanian swerve” can save some precious minutes.

MAP - Stage 12

PROFILE - Stage 12

STAGE 13: 
Jan 14 - Nasca (Peru) to Pisco (Peru)

The dunes are majestic in this part of the country. They will ensure suspense to the very end about who will be the winners and how they will be placed on podium. At the same time, the drivers who are less in a hurry must take nothing for granted even if they are beginning to think about the relief of reaching the finish. They will also have to negotiate a significant number of strings of dunes, avoid confusing valleys which appear to be similar but are in fact different, and fight off the inevitable fatigue after the thousands of kilometres covered. Here every one of the competitors will remember what extreme endurance means.

MAP - Stage 13

PROFILE - Stage 13

STAGE 14: 
Jan 15 - Pisco (Peru) to Lima (Peru)

During the short special stage which will establish definitively the competitors’ final rankings, the tracks and the small dunes should be enjoyed but not overlooked. The time issues are now insignificant and the pleasure of finishing the race will gain the upper hand. The heroes of the 2012 edition will be able to count on a celebration in the heart of the capital that is on a par with their emotions. Those who have successfully survived the adventure will realize all of the difficult moments that they have endured along the way. The challenge has come to an end, but the sights, sensations and the souvenir of an exceptional life experience will remain.

MAP - Stage 14

PROFILE - Stage 14

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