A record crowd of over 800,000 people witnessed the Argentine Chile Dakar Rally get underway yesterday. A total of 160 riders left the Argentine capital Buenos Aires to complete a straightforward 317KM link stage as the first part of the 9,000KM loop.
Favourites for the victory include the KTM pairing of Marc Coma and Cyril Despres who between them have dominated the Dakar in recent years.
For 2010 Dakar organisers introduced a rule change to restrict engine capacity to 450, but a host of competitors including Coma and Despres are racing their proven KTM 690 with an added air restrictor to balance the performance with the 450’s.
This years event will see six Brits fighting to get to the finish. Craig Bounds is back in action onboard his KTM 690 with Phillip Noone also back for more onboard his KTM 525. Andrew Neri, Paul Carlyle and Duncan Tweedy will be heading to South America for their first time with Tamsin Jones onboard her Yamaha WR450.
Stage one of the rally kicks off today and includes a 219km special with the riders ending the day in Cordoba.