DAKAR RALLY - 12 FAST FACTS: The Russian rally raid truck team are the undisputed kings in the truck category of the Dakar Rally. Image: Supplied
Santiago, Chile - The 2016 edition of the Dakar Rally promises to be one of the fastest, longest and toughest tests yet in the 37-year history of the legendary, world-renowned event.
Scheduled to start in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on January 3rd and finish in Rosario 13 days later after a loop of close on 9300km through Bolivia, a total of 556 competitors from 60 nationalities will participate in the 38th running of the race.
Read: Dakar 2016: World's toughest race
The challenging route on dirt tracks, through fine fesh-fesh, over towering sand dunes, rocky mountains and rivers will take competitors from altitudes of just 31m above sea level (in Buenos Aires) to a breathless 4600m (San Salvador de Jujuy to Uyuni) in temperatures ranging from of 4C to 45C.
2016 Dakar facts:
1 Altogether 354 vehicles – 110 race cars, 189 motorcycles (including quad ’bikes) and 55 trucks – have been entered for the marathon race, the eighth on South American soil.
2 The youngest competitor - Sheldon Creed (18); the oldest - Yoshimasa Sugawara (74)
3 Start: Buenos Aires (31m above sea level – lowest point on the Rally)
4 Finish: Rosario – The birthplace of former Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevera and football star Lionel Messi
5 Stage 4: San Salvador de Jujuy – 429km special section takes place at an average height of 3500m alternating sandy, rocky terrain.
6 Stage 5: San Salvador de Jujuy to Uyuni –327km special section with altitudes of up to 4600m (the highest point in Dakar history)
7 Stage 6: The longest special section of 524km at altitude of 3500 - 4200m
8 Stage 10: Highest dune in Fiambala – around 1230m high (compared to the Burj Khalifa at 828m)
9 To effectively manage the 2016 Dakar event the organisers will use 7 ’planes, 12 helicopters, 10 buses, 50 trucks and 60 cars to move the more than 2800 people per day from one bivouac to the next.
10 There will be 20 TV networks in the bivouac and a total of 70 TV networks will broadcast over 1200 hours of coverage to 190 countries.
11 There are a total of 19 female competitors.
12 In total there will be 332 accredited journalists on the event.
Read: World's toughest race: Meet SA's Dakar Rally competitors
2016 Dakar programme
31/12 and 01/01: Administrative and technical checks
02/01: Start podium in Buenos Aires
03/01: Buenos Aires - Villa Carlos Paz
04/01: Villa Carlos Paz - Termas de Río Hondo
05/01: Termas de Río Hondo - Jujuy
06/01: Jujuy - Jujuy
07/01: Jujuy - Uyuni
08/01: Uyuni - Uyuni
09/01: Uyuni - Salta
10/01: Rest day in Salta
11/01: Salta - Belén
12/01: Belén - Belén
13/01: Belén - La Rioja
14/01: La Rioja - San Juan
15/01: San Juan - Villa Carlos Paz
16/01: Villa Carlos Paz – Rosario