The route of the 2nd edition of the Desafío Inca, the 3rd and final leg of the Dakar Series 2014, was unveiled on Thursday in Lima. There will be 1,128 km of racing on the programme in the Ica Desert. It all adds up to a tough challenge for the competitors, among whom we will see the title holder, Ignacio Casale, French riders Olivier Pain and David Casteu, or even Peruvian WRC2 driver Nicolas Fuchs, who is taking his first steps in the rally-raid discipline.
As the concluding race of the Dakar Series 2014, following the Desafío Ruta 40 and the brand new Desafío Guaraní, the route for the 2nd Desafío Inca was unveiled on Thursday at the Lima-Miraflorès Hilton Hotel, in the presence of around one hundred people, including Francisco Boza, the Chairman of the Peruvian Sports Institute, as well as representatives of the Ministry for Foreign Trade and Tourism. Furthermore, the Environment Ministry spokesperson Adrian Neyra was in attendance to provide the guarantee that protection of the environment had been taken into consideration when the route was drawn up. “Since the creation of this event, we have been working in close collaboration with the organisers in order to produce a route that protects the sensitive areas around the Paracas national reserve,” she reminded.
As regards the route, the competitors will be faced with a genuine challenge, with more than 930 km of special stages to be tackled over 3 days in the very heart of the Ica Desert, close to Pisco, and for which the base camp will be set up in Paracas. On the menu, there will be 3 different loops proposing a new route for each stage. Although the watchwords will again be sand and dunes, the organisers have worked hard to ensure a veritable diversity of the terrains tackled in order to provide greater overall variety to the event. Naturally, navigation will also be a key factor right along the route, which also boasts several passages on quicker tracks, the outcome of which is a very comprehensive menu and an ideal terrain for the last major preparatory event before the Dakar 2015.
This is more than enough to whet the appetites of some of the discipline’s finest specialists, who will be rising to the challenge and ensuring there is a high quality international field led by title holder Ignacio Casale. The Chilean was indeed in Lima on Thursday to attend the presentation of the race which, in his opinion, enabled him to gain the required confidence to genuinely aim for and succeed in winning the title in the quad category on the Dakar 2014.
Whilst there is little doubt that he will be one of the major favourites to obtain the title he won last year, the eclectic Chilean quad rider will nevertheless have his work cut out against some of the best in his category, such as Uruguayan Sergio Lafuente, Argentinean Sebastien Halpern or Peruvians Ignacio Florés and Enrique Alonso. This high quality is also evident in the bike category with the official KTM, Yamaha and Honda teams, represented by French riders David Casteu and Olivier Pain, Peruvians Felipe Rios and Eduardo Heinrich, as well as Argentinean Javier Pizzolito and Chilean Pablo Quintanilla, who have come to continue the duel they started on the Desafío Ruta 40 last April.
Lastly, in the car category, all eyes will be on the first steps in rally-raid for the Peruvian star of motorsport: Nicolas Fuchs. WRC 2 production category world champion in 2013, the native of Lima will be making his debut in the rally-raid discipline at the age of 31 years old behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi Pajero, and could be the surprise package in a category in which the favourites hail from the Tamarugal Team, which will be putting its leading riders and drivers into each of the 3 categories. Other major names could still join the party before 11th September, since registration for the rally is still open…