After around a hundred days of pre-reconnaissance on site, and long hours of working on maps, the teams of the rally have now entered the writing phase of the road-book. The first part has already been set on paper.
In 2010, the Dakar will be established on an anti clockwise
course, leaving and returning to Buenos Aires. To finalise the course and put on paper all the notes gathered for the road book that will guide the competitors, the reconnaissance teams left the Argentinean capital at the beginning of the month of September for a session taking them all the way to Antofagasta, site of the rest day planned on the 9th of January. After climbing up the Andes Cordillera from the east and heading back down it towards the west, the eight adventurers of the squad took on the Chilean part that will be at the heart of the event in January, as explained by David Castera:
“With the big part through the Atacama Desert, Chile is a bit like Mauritania on South American soil. By heading slightly more north, we have found new types of dunes, especially around Iquique.
Concerning the characteristics, there will be a few passages through the Salars, ancient salt lakes that have dried, where one has to find a way through huge blocks of salt. It's really surprising”.
On a total of three weeks, David and his compañeros registered, compiled and noted the dangers and the changes in direction that will show up on a distance of around 2500 kilometres of specials for this first part: “they will be on average shorter than last year but the drivers and co-drivers can expect something very dense”, points out the race director. To have a better idea, the competitors will have to keep an eye on the end of year TV programs on France Télévisions, indeed a team came along during the reconnaissance, behind the scenes of the event.