Peru: Citizens Welcome Last Phase of the 2012 Dakar Rally

On Sunday, January 15, Peru's capital city, Lima, and its residents were all abuzz about the 2012 Dakar Rally. That day, the world-renowned rally was coming to an end with just a short, 29 km [18 miles] final stage remaining between Pisco and Lima.

During the previous days, Peruvian media outlets covered the event, giving the audience input on what had happened on the early stages and some background. For example, Peruvian news agency Andina posted on its website:

The Dakar Rally is being held for the fourth straight year in South America. The endurance race took place in Africa from 1979-2007. It was moved to Argentina and Chile after fears of terrorist attacks in Mauritania led to a cancellation of the annual event in 2008.

Following 14 stages – one of which was cancelled due to snow – and more than 8,000 kilometers [4,900 miles], including more than 4,000 kilometres [2,485 miles] of timed specials, the race is to end Sunday in Lima.


Peru became on Thursday the 27th country to host the race in the history of the Dakar Rally. In its territory, participants met sand dunes which provided for plenty of excitement.

Other websites, like the blog Tacneños [es], shared how the rally entered Peruvian territory, from the Southern department of Tacna, on Thursday, January 12. Authorities even declared that day a holiday [es]:

En una explanada a unos 3 kilómetros del balneario Boca del Río, en Tacna, se dio inició esta mañana a la decimo primera etapa del Rally Dakar 2012, que de esta forma empieza correrse en suelo peruano.


Aproximadamente unas 5 mil personas se dieron cita desde la noche de ayer y la madrugada de hoy para ser parte de esta fiesta deportiva y alentar a los mejores corredores del mundo.

On a leveled area about 3 kilometers [1.8 miles] away from the seaside town of Boca del Río, in Tacna, the eleventh phase of the 2012 Dakar Rally kicked off, and it starts its Peruvian stage.


About 5,000 people gathered since yesterday night and very early today morning to be a part of the sport celebration and cheer for the best drivers in the world.

Dakar 2012, Ica, Peru. Image by Telmo Cáceres under Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The blogger behind Caminantes del Perú [es] expresses his disappointment due to the disorganization he witnessed in Ica, where he arrived to see the participants:

Lo curioso fue que uno de nuestros compañeros, el cual tiene familia en Ica, mandó a preguntar sobre las ofertas turísticas del Dakar que hubiese allí, y grande fue su sorpresa cuando no encontró información sobre paquetes turísticos =/, en realidad si pudimos encontrar ofertas turísticas pero enfocadas más en el turista del exterior con paquetes de 200-300 dolares o.O,  me parece que se olvidaron del turista interno #fail.

Quizás hubó falta de planificación sobre la llegada del dakar a Ica y recién el día viernes o el mismo sábado abunden las ofertas del tipo “vea el paso del rally Dakar en las dunas de Ica”.

The curious part was that one of our colleagues, who has family members in Ica, asked about special touristic rates for the Dakar there, and he was really surprised when he couldn't find any information about tour packages =/. Actually, we were able to find some good touristic deals, but more focused on foreign tourists with prices raging from 200-300 dollars o.O. It seems to me the domestic tourist was forgotten. #fail

Maybe some planning was lacking for the arrival of the Dakar to Ica and only on Friday (January 13) or on Saturday there will be plenty of deals like “watch the rally Dakar passing by from the dunes in Ica”.

Others took a more personal approach, like Columna 17's Cyrano [es], who remembered some things from his childhood and described his present excitement:

Acompañaba a mi padre a cuanta carrera de moto o auto había en Lima y él siempre me llevaba a la zona de pits. Todos los corredores y mecánicos eran mis tíos de cariño y la pasaba muy bien entre el olor a aceite quemado y caucho que se percibía en el ambiente.


[Mi amigo] Manolo y yo estábamos tan cerca de los coches que hasta pude percibir el olor del aceite quemado y caucho. Retrocedí años en el tiempo, lo que me transportó a otra dimensión.

Me di cuenta de lo bonito que es vivir para ver que un sueño se cumpla. Ayer pude ver el París-Dakar en vivo y en directo, a escasos metros de mí, como cuando era niño y mi padre me llevaba a los pits.

I used to go with my father to each and every race, whether bike or car, that was held in Lima, and he always took me to the pit zone. All the drivers and mechanics were my adoptive uncles and I had great times among the scent of burnt oil and rubber that was all over the place.


[My friend] Manolo and I were so close to the cars that I was even able to feel the smell of the burnt oil and the rubber. I went years back in time, and I was transported to another dimension.

I realized how beautiful it is to live to see a dream come true. Yesterday I was able to see París-Dakar live and in person, a few meters away form me, just as when I was a boy and my father used to take me to the pits.

You can check the results of the 2012 Dakar Rally on this website [es].

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