Lima, Dec 5: More than 500 competitors from 61 countries and regions will participate in a historic edition of the Dakar Rally in Peru next month, race organizers said on Tuesday.
The event will run from January 6-17 and begin and end in the capital Lima and span 5,000km, of which almost 3,000km will be timed. The route includes five days in the Ica desert and a section in which competitors will tackle the world's second highest sand dune - known locally as Duna Grande - which stands 1,700 meters tall.
"It will definitely be an edition unlike any other," Dakar Rally director Etienne Lavigne told reporters. "The beauty of the dunes and the extreme characteristics of the rally have attracted hundreds of participants. Thanks to Peru we have exceptional and unique geography to put together a great event."
The 334 registered vehicles include 167 motorcycles and quads, 126 cars and 41 trucks. Among those to have confirmed their presence are Spain's Carlos Sainz and Austrian Matthias Walkner, the defending car and motorcycle champions, respectively.
First staged in 1978, the Dakar Rally originally took place between Paris, France, and Dakar, Senegal. It was moved to South America in 2009 because of security concerns. (UNI-Xinhua)