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2018 Dakar Rally set for Peru, Bolivia and Argentina

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Peugeot’s French driver Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean Paul Cottret compete during the Stage 11 of the Rally Dakar 2016 between La Rioja and San Juan, Argentina, on January 14, 2016 © AFP/File / FRANCK FIFE

PARIS, France, Mar 22 – The 2018 Dakar Rally will start from Lima, Peru, on January 6 and finish two weeks later in Argentina after passing through Bolivia, organisers said Wednesday.

The 40th edition of the rally and its 10th on South American soil will trace a path down the Pacific coast from Peru into Bolivia before turning sharply inland in Argentina to end on January 20 in Cordoba, organisers said.

The Dakar was originally launched as an African rally but was transplanted to South America in 2009 after terrorism fears forced the cancellation of the 2008 edition through Mauritius the day before the start.

Details of the 2018 race stages and the names of the competitors will be released in November.

“We have not raced in Peru for five years, a country that marked competitors at the time and there has been a real desire to go back there,” said course director Etienne Lavigne.

“The coastal desert landscape south of Lima is extremely interesting for competition with its sand and dunes.”

Peugeot’s French driver Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean Paul Cottret compete during the Stage 11 of the Rally Dakar 2016 between La Rioja and San Juan, Argentina, on January 14, 2016 © AFP / Paz PIZARRO

However, the El Nino weather system which is bringing heavy rain to Peru is a concern for organisers.

Heavy rains have been responsible for the deaths of dozens of people so far this year in Peru.

“It is something we are thinking about and worried about… but we went ahead with the conference presenting the race with the approval of Peru,” said Lavigne.

Veteran Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel won the 2016 edition after an exciting duel with Peugeot teammate Sebastian Loeb, the nine-times world rally champion who was second.

KTM rider Sam Sunderland became the first Briton to win the motorbike section.

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