2009 Dakar Rally Route Details

December 30, 2008
Courtesy of Dakar.com

Dakar Rally

The Route: 100% Dakar

Stage 1 – Saturday, January 3: Buenos Aires – Santa Rosa, 455 mi (733 km)
Link: 121 mi (196 km)
Special: 230 mi (371 km)
Link: 103 mi (166 km)
Many have heard of La Pampa, where men are reputed to be “rough, but always courteous.” This first stage will provide the opportunity to discover the length of these vast plains. Dakar competitors have never faced such a long special. With over 248 miles (400 km) of rolling routes, perhaps the fastest on the program, this will constitute a real warm-up. It will be the occasion for everyone to affront a long day that will get rid of all problems in adapting to jet lag.

Stage 2 – Sunday, January 4: Santa Rosa – Puerto Madryn, 520 mi (837 km)
Link: 0 mi (0 km)
Special: 147 mi (237 km)
Link: 372 mi (600 km)
The longest stage of the rally will not necessarily be the most difficult. However, it should still be approached with
vigilance and, above all, will a complete set of rally equipment. After a rapid first part of the special, a foretaste of
sand will be proposed. On the off-roads of this stage, copilots will need to pay careful attention to their course. The
more distracted will begin to “turn in circles.”

Stage 3 – Monday, January 5: Puerto Madryn – Jacobacci, 431mi (694 km)
Link: 43 mi (70 km)
Special: 382 mi (616 km)
Link: 5 mi (8 km)
For the third day of the race, the special program is a tough one, ranging over 372 miles (600 km). It will be a sign that the competitors have reached the heart of the matter, even though big problems are still to come. The entry into
Patagonia, which will be accompanied by a significant change in terrain, will need new piloting abilities. The
landscape is much hillier, and those who prefer long curves will find what they’re looking for. Here, orientation is
done using the lakes that border the route, around ten throughout the day, and numerous pink flamingoes will be the
preferred guides for this stage.

Stage 4 – Tuesday, January 6: Jacobacci – Neuquen, 303 mi (488 km)
Link: 2.4 mi (4 km)
Special: 285.2 mi (459 km)
Link: 15.5 mi (25 km)
At the start of this stage, the rocky passageways will make heavy demands on the arms of motorcyclists, while
those who are accustomed to “wadis” will be obliged to negotiate the Argentinian “rios” with the same careful
attention. Next, the first sandy portions and the long kilometers of off-road will thrill those who love driving them.
Careful now! Mistakes can begin to be costly: the stage toward Neuquen has all the ingredients of a trap. By taking
on more or less of a lead, the favorites can begin to show themselves and provide indications of a ranking that just
might last.

Stage 5 – Wednesday, January 7: Neuquen – San Rafael, 474 mi (763 km)
Link: 107.5 mi (173 km)
Special: 314.4 mi (506 km)
Link: 52.2 mi (84 km)
The major test of the first week of the race will perhaps be fought on the road to San Rafael. The long distance will
oblige teams to remain concentrated at all times. The pilots will also be confronted with real dune passageways,
including a range nearly twelve miles (20 km) long. Long off-road stretches will alternate with much more technical
sections in the track following the “rios.” The Cordillera can be seen on the horizon, but taking time to sightsee is out
of the question: a too-late arrival at the bivouac always leaves a mark.

Stage 6 – Thursday, January 8: San Rafael – Mendoza, 388 mi (625 km)
Link: 47.2 mi (76 km)
Special: 245.4 mi (395 km)
Link: 95.7 mi (154 km)
The day’s program is once again full of crossings, since the special begins with around thirty-seven miles (60 km) of dunes. The trail becomes easier in the second part, but competitors might well be slowed down by a wide ford that must be crossed with exceeding skill to avoid an extended bath. On arrival at Mendoza, the rally will penetrate the foothills of the Andes mountain range.

Stage 7 – Friday, January 9: Mendoza (ARG) – Valparaiso (CHL), 507 mi (816 km)
Link: 49.7 mi (80 km)
Special: 260.3 mi (419 km)
Link: 197 mi (317 km)
The variety of terrains and landscapes, a constant given for the Dakar 2009, is evident once again on this stage,
where, in addition to a change of country, most of the competitors will get to know the Cordillera of the Andes.
Before measuring themselves with the mountains, they must cross over a series of dunes and endure a session of
fesh fesh, which is identical to Saharan sand, but which the inhabitants of the region call “guadal.” Concerning the
mountains, this will be the only special to include passageways at 9800 ft (3000m) on technical routes that will
sometimes allow a glimpse of the Aconcagua, the highest point in the Andes (22,841 ft (6959 m)). Then, competitors will cross the border on the link section to reach the sea at Valparaiso.

Stage 8 – Sunday, January 11: Valparaiso – La Serena, 405 mi (652 km)
Link: 152.2 mi (245 km)
Special: 182.7 mi (294 km)
Link: 70.2 mi (113 km)
After a day of rest on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, an easier restart has been programmed. On mid-range
mountain roads, driving hotshots should be able to really strut their stuff. The experts in car positioning, trajectory
and sudden braking will show how it’s done. But for the rally leaders, there is certainly more to be lost than won
during this stage.

Stage 9 – Monday, January 12: La Serena – Copiapo, 333 mi (537 km)
Link: 54.7 mi (88 km)
Special: 279 mi (449 km)
Link: 0 mi (0 km)
We are at the first step of a decisive trilogy. The reputation of the Atacama Desert, known as the world’s driest, will
be tested by the competitors. Those who hope to find dunes will be rewarded. But they will also be fed a generous
helping of rocks. This stage is typical of the Dakar 2009, with numerous changes of terrain. The positioning of
difficulties, with long stretches of dunes at the end, will require pilots to conserve their strength. They must show
themselves to be both multi-talented and with a firm sense of how to manage their efforts.

Stage 10 – Tuesday, January 13: Copiapo – Copiapo, 428 mi (690 km)
Link: 12.4 mi (20 km)
Special: 416.3 mi (670 km)
Link: 0 mi (0 km)
The day’s special is simply the longest and most difficult of the rally. As on the previous day, the competitors will
face a series of dunes at the end of the day that stretch over a sixty miles (100 km). And in this area, even the
leading specialists will be faced with something new. The Chilean dunes are veritable mountains of sand, and pilots
must learn to climb and descend their sides over more than half a mile (1 km). Another unknown: due to the extreme
heat of the region, no one knows exactly how the sand will behave. In any case, remaining clear-headed will be
imperative all the way to the end.

Stage 11 – Wednesday, January 14: Copiapo – Fiambala, 423 mi (680 km)
Link: 12.4 mi (20 km)
Special: 133.5 mi (215 km)
Link: 276.5 mi (445 km)
On this most majestic stage of the rally, the talents of copilots will be at the strategic center. In the morning, vehicles
will leave the Pacific Ocean behind and head toward the border. In the meantime, it will be necessary to constantly
choose which valley to take. The return to Argentina will be through the enchanting surroundings of the Paso San
Francisco, at an altitude of nearly 15,000 ft (4700 m). To close this long “day of colors,” the link will lead competitors to a sandy landscape that resembles Mauritania. And if fate lends a hand, the rally could even experience a “Bolivian
winter” there, a rare phenomenon that sometimes provokes snowfalls in the middle of summer!

Stage 12 – Thursday, January 15: Fiambala – La Rioja, 322 mi (518 km)
Link: 2.5 mi (4 km)
Special: 157.2 mi (253 km)
Link: 162 mi (261 km)
As concerns crossings, the day’s special is a concentrate of technique. Various types of dunes will be encountered,
including the very formidable “white dunes.” Just three days from arrival, this stage can scramble rankings,
especially because the assistance vehicles will not have access to the Fiambala bivouac. The Golden Rule is still:
“know how to economize your machine.”

Stage 13 – Friday, January 16: La Rioja – Cordoba, 468 mi (753 km)
Link: 100 mi (161 km)
Special: 338.6 mi (545 km)
Link: 29.2 mi (47 km)
After having swallowed thousands of miles, participants will face a first-class physical challenge in this next-tothe-
last stage. State-of-the-art pilots must maintain their position, while amateurs must avoid an excess of
confidence. Errors can leave bitter memories, since this will be the day of cacti. At the bivouac, doctors will no doubt
be called on to wield the tweezers. Finally, for the experts of traditional rallies, certain routes are part of the
patrimony of the World Cup that takes place every year in Cordoba. Here, aficionados will guarantee a large popular

Stage 14 – Saturday, January 17: Cordoba – Buenos Aires, 492 mi (792 km)
Link: 139.2 mi (224 km)
Special: 141 mi (227 km)
Link: 211.9 mi (341 km)
The adventure began on La Pampa. After having explored two veritable nation-continents, the competitors will find a
more familiar type of landscape. On long, rolling routes, concentration remains necessary. Those who arrive with a
ranking in Buenos Aires will have achieved the most impressive loop ever undertaken in rally-raid. And they will
remain forever first.

For more information about the Dakar Rally visit www.dakar.com

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