The Dakar Rally is motorsport’s most arduous course that gets under way today. The Dakar Rally 2017 starts on January 2 in Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay. Stage one is 454 kilometres long and a mere dent in the marathon course that lies ahead.
The motorcycle category has been safe in KTM’s hands since 2001, when Italian Fabrizio Meoni was their first winner. The KTM Dakar Rally 2017 team is on the top of every competitor’s wish list to beat this year. The four rider team is fit and well prepared to start the race, and they know the pressure is on.
Dakar Rally 2017 – 12 Stages and 13 Days
Ahead of the illustrious race, here is the dissection of the 12 stages over 13 days and the overall race in numbers. Let us take a closer look at the numbers behind motorsport’s toughest event Dakar Rally.
- Bib No.1 will be adorned by Australian Toby Price in the Dakar Rally 2017. Last year he became the first Australian to win the dakar and proved victorious in the motorbike category. He won five stages in all and was 40 minutes clear of his closest rival. This makes him the only person to win the event on his second attempt.
- Nasser al-Attiyah won two stages last year in the dakar car category, one more than the number of medals he has won at the Summer Olympics. In Olympics, he won a shooting bronze from London. But sticking to twos, it is the number of times he has won dakar and also his position in last year’s race come the finish.
- This year the Dakar Rally 2017 event will go through a total of 3 countries in South America. The race starts in Paraguay goes to Bolivia and reaches Argentina where it ends.
- Jutta Kleinschmidt was the first and still only female winner of the dakar proving victorious on four wheels in the car category in 2001. But her first forays along the route were on two wheels rather than four. She made her debut in 1988 on a BMW motorcycle before switching to a car in 1994.
- Stage five of this year’s race is in the heart of the Bolivia Altiplano where the Andes are at their wildest. Outside Tibet, it is the most extensive high plateau on earth in which two hefty sand dune sections will provide an ultimate test for those still in the race.
- In 2016, there were 18 Red Bull entries, or Desert Wings, who started from the start line. After two weeks of racing and at the finish line, six out of 18 entries were among the podium finishers
- The support group for the dakar is absolutely monstrous. The race is followed and filmed with eyes in the sky by a total of seven helicopters. This is not the only race back-up. There is a field hospital, an air ambulance and 60 nursing staff standing by in case of any emergencies.
- The 2016 running of the dakar was the eighth successive year in which the rally was run in South America. The race was moved to soutn America in 2009 due to safety concerns in parts of Africa. Traditionally, Dakar Rally’s route, from its inception in 1979 – had been from Paris to Dakar. The French capital last hosted the race departure in 2001.
- There are no shortage of motorsport royalty in the starting line-up for this year. Perhaps most notable among them is Sebastien Loeb, who is making his second entry in the race. Loeb is best known for his years in the World rally Championship in which he won nine titles. He also finished ninth overall last year on his dakar debut.
- The tightest ever margin of victory on the Dakar was just two minutes and 12 seconds back in 2010. That year, Carlos Sainz edged out al-Attiyah in a nail biting finale to a gripping race-long contest.
- Red Bull athletes enjoyed a stunning Dakar in 2016. They won 11 out of 13 stages and 91% of the time they were on the podium.
- Stephane Peterhansel won the car event last year and boasts an astonishing 12 overall Dakar victories. He was once the dominant force in the motorbike class. He won six times before switching to cars and emulating that number of wins.
Schedule and Stages of Dakar Rally 2017
- Stage 1 starts on Monday, January 2, from Asunción and ends at Resistencia covering 454 kms in total with 39 kms timed.
- Stage 2 starts on Tuesday, January 3, from Resistencia to San Miguel de Tucumán covering 275 kms timed kms and 803 km in total.
- Stage 3 starts on Wednesday, January 4, from San Miguel de Tucumán to San Salvador de Jujuy with 364 kms timed and 780 kms in total.
- Stage 4 starts on Thursday, January 5 from San Salvador de Jujuy and ending at Tupiza covering 521 kms in total with 416 kms timed.
- Stage 5 starts on Friday, January 6 from Tupiza to Oruro with 447 times kms and 692 kms in total.
- Stage 6 starts on Saturday, January 7 from Oruro and ends at La Paz covering 786 kms in total and 527 kms timed.
- Sunday January 8 will be a Rest Day at La Paz during Dakar Rally 2017
- Marathon Stage 7 starts on Monday, January 9 from La Paz ending at Uyuni with 322 timed kms and 622 kms in total.
- Marathon Stage 8 starts on Tuesday, January 10 from Uyuni to Salta covering 892 total kms and 492 timed kms.
- Stage 9 starts on Wednesday, January 11 from Salta and ends at Chilecito with 406 timed kms and 977 total kms
- Stage 10 starts on Thursday, January 12, from Chilecito for San Juan covering 751 kms in total with 449 timed kms.
- Stage 11 starts on Friday, January 12, from San Juan for Río Cuarto with 288 timed kms and 754 total kms.
- Stage 12 starts on Saturday, January 13 from Río Cuarto and ends at Buenos Aires with 64 kms timed and 786 kms in total.