Since its creation in 1978, the popularity of the Dakar Rallye has grown stronger to the point today when it is the largest motor sporting event in the world, with over 150 million European viewers alone. But this unique event has always remained loyal to its founding values: a unique sporting competition, experienced by all, amateurs and professionals alike, as an extraordinary human adventure. The 2009 route follows some of the world's most testing yet breath-taking terrain from Argentina and Chile, where they come face to face with the driest desert, some of the tallest dunes on the planet and cross the Andes Mountains (twice), before returning to Buenos Aires, on day 15, for the finish.
On the morning of January 3rd 2009, 530 teams will take off from Buenos Aires: 230 motorbikes, 30 quads, 188 cars and 82 trucks, representing 49 nationalities, with less than 40 per cent on average making it to the finish each year, no-one's fate is guaranteed.
Excitingly, navigation has regained its status on the 2009 Dakar and can mean the difference between success and failure, triumph and disaster. This year competitors only have three sources of information: the hidden waypoints,
the road-book and the direction followed, pushing racers to the limits of their endurance and survival capabilities. GPS is not allowed.