In 2009, the Dakar Rally was run in South America (Argentina and Chile), the first time the race took place outside of Europe and Africa. It has stayed in South America since, with this year adding the vast coastal deserts of Peru to the route.
The 9,000 kilometer itinerary extended from Mar del Plata to Lima, from the Atlantic to the Pacific in 14 days of racing. Peru’s sand dunes proved to be a similar terrain to riders who have participated in the event when it was still held in the deserts of North Africa. After the finish line at Sarapampa, near the beach town of Asia, the participants drove the hour north on the Pan-American highway, which was full of cheering crowds lining the road the entire route. The awards ceremony was held in Lima’s Plaza Mayor. The Peruvian leg of the race was so successful that organizers may opt to begin the event in Lima the following year or possibly extend the route through Peru.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.