This year’s Dakar Rally will take place from 6 – 17 January.  For the first time, the rally will be held entirely in Peru.

This year’s Dakar will feature 70% sand. Photo credit ASO.

Vehicles leave Le Havre, France.

As the start of the most grueling rally in the gets closer, European competitors have started to gather.  Approximately 270 vehicles will leave from the port of Le Havre, France to board the ship Heritage Leader.  They will then make the long journey across the Atlantic ocean and through the Panama Canal.  From there, they will proceed to their final destination, the port of Lima, Peru.

Photo credit ASO.

Le Havre Competitor makeup.

This year, organizers ASO estimate that the Heritage Leader’s load will consist of nearly 270 competition vehicles.  With 79 cars, 163 assistance trucks as well as 59 press cars and 30 Dakar Organization vehicles, the Heritage Leader will be carrying the majority of the competitor’s vehicles from Europe and Asia.  But this load does not even include competitors from North and South America.

Photo credit ASO.

For some competitors, the port of Le Havre represents only a small amount of the travel that the racers have had to undertake.  Kamaz’s a long time competitor and 8 time South America winners of the Dakar came all the way from Tatarstan.    Also making the journey to Le Havre are the Belarusian team Maz.

Photo credit ASO.

Getting to Le Havre is no small task for some.

So you can see that making the journey to race in the Dakar is a substantial undertaking.  Mongolian driver Byambatsogt Udiikhuu shipped his Can-Am by an assistance truck and has already traveled 12,000 kilometers (5,500 miles) during a 21-day journey.  So far, he has passed through Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Poland, Germany and Belgium before finally arriving in France.  All this travel will be the easiest part of the journey and challenge!

Laia Sainz is the highest finishing female Dakar competitor finishing 9 overall in 2018. Photo credit ASO.

If you have not seen the Dakar bikes in competition, you are in for a treat.  Stay tuned.

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