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PERÚ, THE COLOUR OF SAND

10 years after the first edition to be held on the South American continent, the 2019 Dakar will be run on a new loop rally-route, with the start and finish in Lima. The Peruvian sand will play a decisive role in the quest for top honours.

Long before the current division of nations, Peru was built on a multifaceted heritage, some elements of this South American identity date back nearly 5,000 years. A testament of the Inca civilization, Machu Picchu has become an emblem of cultural diversity as well as the country’s most famous tourist attraction, while the affinity of the Peruvian people is recognized in the term "Pachamama" designating a respectful and intimate relationship with nature. On the other hand, visitors who go to the Pacific’s surf spots also follow this tradition while they enjoy, with moderation, a Pisco Sour or honour local products in heading to restaurants featuring the new wave of Peruvian gastronomy.

Scarce rainfall has led to completely desert areas, which the Dakar first explored in 2012 and 2013. When the Dakar first arrived in Peru, only the most outstanding competitors enjoyed the proud moment of standing on the podium in Lima. The following year, the Peruvian fans had an extra boost when they saw one of their quad riders, Ignacio Flores, win the first stage in Pisco. When the Dakar returned to the country for the 40th edition of the rally, crossing the deserts of Ica and Tanaka was a major test for the participants, with such top-line contenders as Sam Sunderland in bikes or Sébastien Loeb in cars being eliminated. This year Peruvian fans’ hopes will mostly be riding on Nicolás Fuchs, 12th in cars in 2017 and Alexis Hernández, 5th in quads last January. 

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