Once the epicentre of 16th century Spanish power and colonial expansion, Peru has remained—despite its separation with Bolivia (formerly called Upper Peru)—the 3rd largest country in South America in geographical terms. The scarcity of rain has left many regions totally arid: the Dakar rally began exploring this harsh terrain in its 2012 and 2013 editions. The first time the Dakar finished in Peru, only the most valiant drivers had the chance to stand proudly on the podium. And the following year, Peruvian fans were given an extra reason to celebrate: one of their own drivers, Ignacio Flores, made his mark in the quad category during the first stage in Pisco. To celebrate its return to the Dakar route, Peru is entering an even more convincing team of competitors, bolstered by Nicolas Fuchs, who finished 12th in the car category last January in his first Dakar appearance.
Peru’s capital is ranked 5th among South American cities. It is especially renowned for the ancient buildings that constitute its historic centre, declared a UNESCO world heritage site. In the City of Kings, the drivers and their teammates who completed the 2012 Dakar rally were dazzled by the Plaza de Armas, to which a million supporters flocked to celebrate their feat. Aficionados also convened en masse at the waterfront in Magdalena for the 2013 trials and at the starting podium in Chorillos. A fresh opportunity to show their unfailing support now awaits.
There is not a traveller who does not succumb to the charms of Peru. Machu Picchu—the country’s emblem and a majestic remnant of the Inca civilization—attracts tourists in droves. Due to Peru’s geographical layout, visitors to the country can also enjoy a seaside holiday on the Pacific coast as well as mountain expeditions in the Andes or strolls along the shores of Lake Titicaca. But for Dakar competitors and rally enthusiasts, the true eye-openers are the deserts and dunes of the Ica region. This year—and even more so than in 2012 and 2013—the challenge of crossing these barren lands will be foremost in the minds of many a visitor to Peru.
Puno (full name: San Carlos de Borromeo de Puno) is principally known as the main gateway to the Peruvian shores of Lake Titicaca. As such, the town has become established as a major trade hub and an important centre for tourism. Despite its location near the Bolivian border, Puno is nevertheless regarded as the capital of Peruvian folklore: a city of art and culture.
The exhibition and events of the Feria Dakar bring together all of the rally’s enthusiasts, taking the spirit of the Dakar across the country, far beyond the stopover towns where the bivouacs are set up.
The Feria will come to Lima, Pisco and Puno:
3rd-5th January: Dakar Village, Lima
6th January: Feria Dakar Pisco
10th-11th January: Feria Dakar Puno
Nicolas Fuchs (car): 12th in 2017
Francisco León (car): Winner of the T3.1 category in 2015
Ignacio Flores (quad): 8th in 2013, Stage 1 winner
Eduardo Heinrich (bike): 45th in 2015
Alexis Hernández (quad): 8th in 2016