DAK 2015 Dakar Rally gets underway in central Buenos Aires
37th Dakar Argentina-Bolivia-Chile (January 3-17, 2015)
2015 DAKAR RALLY GETS UNDERWAY WITH
CEREMONIAL START IN CENTRAL BUENOS AIRES
· Massive crowds line streets to see entrants away from Buenos Aires start
· Villagra and Memi receive sensational reception from home crowds
· Ceremonial start takes place outside President’s mansion in Plaza de Mayo
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA, January 3, 2015 – The 2015 Dakar Rally officially got underway with the ceremonial start in the Plaza de Mayo in front of the Casa Rosada in central Buenos Aires on Saturday evening.
A capacity entry of 161 bikes, 137 cars, 45 quads and 63 trucks and a total of 720 competitors from 53 nations will spend the evening in the capital before leaving first thing on Sunday morning to tackle the first special stage in the most daunting off-road motor sport event on the planet.
The Argentine duo of Federico Villagra and Andrés Memi drive the YPF Competicion Ford Ranger and crossed the podium after the bikes and quads and amongst the leading group of car entrants on Saturday night.
An estimated two million people lined the streets of the Argentine capital to flag away competitors from every corner of the world. The start podium was located in front of the executive mansion and office of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the President of Argentina.
Local heroes, Villagra and Memi, received a superb reception from the assembled throng. “It was really an incredible atmosphere at the start of the race,” said 45-year-old Villagra. “It was extra special for Andrés and I, because this is our country and these are our people wishing us well for the challenges that lie ahead.”
Villagra’s Ford Ranger has been prepared by the South African car preparation company Neil Woolridge Motorsport and will be managed on event by South Racing.
In addition to Argentine energy company YPF, Villagra’s Dakar programme is also supported by suspension and OEM parts company Fric Rot, Brenson (Dealer Ford), Piamontesa and construction company Natania. OMP, Michelin, Rudy Project and Gold Nutrition have provided technical assistance.
Tomorrow’s (Sunday) first special stage is short by Dakar Rally standards and starts near Baradero after a liaison of 225km and finishes close to San Nicolas de Los Arrocos.
Navigation is sure to be a factor and there are bound to be pitfalls afoot on the deceptive winding tracks, as the route heads north-west from Buenos Aires, into open country and on to the town of Villa Carlos Paz, renowned globally as the host venue for the Argentinean round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
In a total day’s route of 833km - that features long road sections through the heart of Argentina - there will be a mere 170km of competition for the cars before the overnight halt in Villa Carlos Paz.
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