D ie according to official information a total of 362 drivers started at the obelisk in the center of the Million metropolis on the famous Avenida 9 de Julio. The Argentine quad rider Alejandro Patronelli was the first to set out on the 9,000-kilometer route through Argentina and Chile with the number 277, to the applause of tens of thousands of spectators. The destination is back in Buenos Aires on January 16 th.
First stage without time pressure
The first 317-kilometer daily route to the city of Colón included no evaluation parts yet. The drivers only had to reach the destination by evening. The first stage of the race should go from Colón to Córdoba, 684 kilometers away, on Saturday. A total of 151 motorcycles, 25 quads, 52 trucks and 134 cars are registered for the start.
When it comes to cars, the Volkswagen team was the big favorite with no less than five Race Touaregs. As in the previous year, when VW won the Dakar for the first time, five Race Touaregs with 300 hp diesel engines competed. 'We have never been to a Dakar with such a strong team,' said VW Motorsport boss Kris Nissen.
Anyone can win the Dakar
For Dirk von Zitzewitz from Schleswig-Holstein, as VW co-driver of the South African Giniel de Villiers last year's Dakar winner, is once again the toughest opponent on the racetrack itself. 'There are so many things that cannot be planned, that the outcome is complete is uncertain. Anyone can win, 'said the 41-year-old. Strong opponents are the competitors on BMW and Hummer.
The former Formula 1 driver Hans-Joachim Stuck, who was present as a VW motorsport representative in Buenos Aires, confessed after a test drive with the Brazilian VW driver Mauricio Neves: 'I was scared to death. No Formula 1 driver would be able to drive a Dakar rally.'