The second Paris to Dakar motor rally across some of the worst desert in Africa gets underway on January the first (1980).
The second Paris to Dakar motor rally across some of the worst desert in Africa gets underway on January the first (1980). The rally, which finishes in the capital of the West African state of Senegal, is a supreme test of endurance and speed -- and this year has attracted some of the world's best drivers.
SYNOPSIS: Among those who have entered the race are Renault Bernard and Claude Marreau of France. They've been preparing for the long ordeal with practice runs through parts of Algeria, accompanied by a leading competitor in the motorcycle section, Martine de Cortanze.
The race will follow a similar route to last year's event which covered ten thousand kilometres about (6200 miles) over some of the roughest terrain in North and West Africa. Three classes of vehicles can compete - motorcycles, cars and trucks. Martine de Cortanze was lat year's winner in the motorcycles, while the Marreau brothers came in second in their class.
After France, the route takes them through Algeria, Niger, the Upper Volta and Mali to Senegal. Last year, the vent took more than three weeks to complete, and the harsh conditions forced many contestants to abandon the race.
The first stage of desert the entrants will experience is in the Tanezrouft area in southern Algeria. From there, they will move on to the next three stages -- covering the magnificent countryside in Mali around Mount Hombori, and areas of rich vegetation beside the Niger River, towards the legendary town of Timbaktu.
After Timbaktu, the route moves back through the town of Gao, and across the Niger river and the Upper volta before a three-day-non-stop stage. Then it's back to Mali where the drivers have to cross the dangerous Kolokani-Nioro stage in the Sahel where so many contestants got stuck lat year -- either breaking down or just giving up.
Finally, the last stage runs through Senegal which should provide a colourful highspot for those competitors who have managed to get that far.
The Marreau brothers are among the favourites to win the section for cars. They are driving an improved Renault Four and are current holders of the record for crossing Africa from Cape Town to Algiers in under nine days. Martine de Cortanze,, on a Yamaha 500, is the favourite for her class, ahead of another female cyclist, Marie Ertaud.