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Dakar Rally to begin in football star Messi's hometown

600   //    21 Mar 2013, 16:48 IST

Paris, March 21 (IANS)

The 2014 Dakar Rally will begin Jan 5 in Rosario, the Argentinean city where football star Lionel Messi was born, and will end Jan 18 in Valparaiso, Chile, organisers announced here.

But the real novelty of next year’s rally is that part of the route will take competitors into Bolivia, making it the 28th country to host the legendary off-road endurance race, reports Xinhua.

It will be the Dakar Rally’s 35th edition and the sixth time it will be held in South America, according to France’s Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), which handles the race.

The 2014 course seeks to test competitors’ intelligence as well as endurance, organisers said.

The town of Rosario, located 300 kilometres north of Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, in Santa Fe province, is the birthplace of Messi and revolutionary leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

The nearly two-week race has scheduled just one rest day on Jan 11 in Salta, north Argentina.

The 2013 edition, which began in Lima, Peru, continued through Argentina and concluded in Santiago, Chile, was won by France’s Stephane Peterhansel in the cars division, fellow Frenchman Cyril Despres (bikes), Russian Eduard Nikolaev (trucks) and Argentinean Marcos Patronelli (ATVs/quads).

In 2009, 2010 and 2011, the Dakar Rally started in Buenos Aires and ended in Santiago, while in 2012 it began in Argentina’s Mar del Plata, continued through Chile and concluded in Lima.

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