Turkey Aims High At Dakar 2010

The 2010 Dakar Rally will run from January 1 to 17 on the Argentina-Chile route.

Kemal Merkit and Kutlu Torunlar will represent Turkey on the bike course of this year’s  9,000-km 32nd Dakar Rally. Some 161 bikes, 29 ATVs, 140 cars and 52 trucks from 33 countries on four continents will compete in the rally.With transportation sponsorship by Turkish Airlines, the 2010 Dakar Rally will run for a total of 15 days over rough terrain in Argentina and Chile, including sand dunes, rocky ground and high altitudes. The teams will face their biggest challenges in the stage through the Atacama Desert, known to be the driest in the world, and on the 3,000-meter-high slopes of the Andes Cordillera. The primary aim of Dakar Turkish Team members Kutlu Torunlar and Kemal Merkit, known as the ‘Desert Tiger’, in this legendary rally that only about forty percent of participants manage to finish, is to complete the 8,937-km course as a team with a hundred percent success. Their second highest aim is to place among the top three in their own class and the top 20 overall. Starting in Buenos Aires, the 32rd Dakar Rally will consist of 14 stages. The longest stage of this year’s race, every leg of which is fraught with different geographical difficulties, is the 796-km long San Juan-San Rafael in Argentina. The longest special meanwhile is the 600-km long Iquique-Antofagasta stage through Chile’s Atamaca Desert. Bikes, cars and trucks will follow different courses during the early days of the race. While bikers will cover a total of 8,937 km including 4,717 km of special stages, cars and trucks will cover 9,030 km with 4,810 km of special.