Santiago: Chile will continue to form part of the Dakar Rally route next January, marking the second time the country serves as a backdrop for the legendary off-road endurance race, Deputy Sports Minister Gabriel Ruiz Tagle has said.
Following the presentation in Paris for next year`s race, Ruiz said he was ‘very happy’ to see his country participating again.
"This has been the fruit of a great effort," he added.
In an interview with Chilean Radio Corporativa, Ruiz announced that the route for next year`s rally will include Valparaiso, "our World Heritage city".
The 2014 race is set to kick off Jan 5 in the Argentinean town of Rosario, continue for the first time through Bolivia, and conclude in Valparaiso on the 18th, organisers said. The route excluded Peru, which along with Argentina and Chile hosted the previous edition.
Ruiz said the inclusion of Bolivia was a good thing.
"Obviously, the Dakar is dynamic. I think including Bolivia is a very positive step, because sports always helps friendship between nations and this time will not be an exception. We hope to be able to coordinate very well with the Bolivian government, so the race can unfold fluidly," he said.
The 2014 itinerary calls for the competing vehicles to split up after the Rosario leg, with motorbikes and quads racing through Bolivia`s Potosi region, while trucks and automobiles head directly for Chile`s northern Atacama Desert, where all the racers will meet up again.