Ingrassia tastes Dakar Atmosphere
Double Champion visited Rally Dakar
The 3km Thursday evening test will launch the 35th edition of the South American classic before a 235km liaison section back to the host town of Villa Carlos Paz, around which the remaining three days will be based.
Merlo is in the province of San Luis, which has become a hot-bed of motorsport in the last 12 months after hosting the Dakar Rally and the FIA World Rallycross Championship.
Rally Argentina’s recent hallmark has been long and punishing stages and this year is no exception.
Friday’s 52km test from Agua de Oro to Ascochinga, reversed from last year, and Saturday’s 56km San Marcos - Characato will provide stern challenges. Both will be run twice.
The latter is one of two new stages north of Carlos Paz that include roads last used in 2007. The traditional curtain-raising super special stage on the edge of town will end Friday’s action and will be broadcast on live TV.
Sunday’s final leg in the Traslasierra mountains will comprise a double pass of the rocky El Cóndor test, famed for its moonlike landscape. The second pass will form the live TV Power Stage.
The 12 stages cover 342.59km, 60km less than last year.
You can see the full itinerary here.