Dakar Rally to start from Eiffel Tower

As dawn breaks over Paris on New Year's Day, the 23rd Dakar rally will set off from the foot of the Eiffel Tower and begin a 20-day journey through France, Spain and the northwestern Sahara desert.

As dawn breaks over Paris on New Year's Day, the 23rd Dakar rally will set off from the foot of the Eiffel Tower and begin a 20-day journey through France, Spain and the northwestern Sahara desert.

Some 130 motorcycles, 110 cars and 30 trucks will make the journey in 20 stages, covering a total of 10,739 kilometers (6,658 miles), before the scheduled arrival in Dakar, Senegal, on Jan. 21.

Frenchmen Jean-Louis Schlesser, who has won the last two Dakar rallies, is favorite to win in the car category. Fellow countryman Richard Sainct, who has won the last two motorcycle races, is also tipped to make it a hattrick in his section, riding a KTM bike.

The 2001 Dakar rally marks the return of the race to Paris, with its traditional dawn start, for the first time in three years. Last year the race set off from Dakar and headed across the Sahara to Cairo, Egypt. The year before, the event left for the Senegalese capital from Granada, Spain.

The 2000 rally from Dakar to Cairo was interrupted midway, after an alleged terrorist threat forced organizers to airlift the entire race from Niger to Libya to avoid potential danger zones.

Event organizers said they had received security guarantees from the Moroccan and Mauritanian authorities for this year's rally, after rebels campaigning for independence for the Western Sahara from Morocco said they opposed the race.

Organizers said that the separatist Polisario Front had voiced its opposition to the 2001 Paris-Dakar passing through the Western Sahara, where war broke out in 1976 after Morocco annexed the Atlantic coast territory.

In addition to Morocco, including the Western Sahara, the race will pass through France, Spain, Mauritania, Mali and Senegal, taking in many dune crossings.

The 600 competitors taking part in the 2001 Paris-Dakar will be accompanied by eight helicopters, 17 planes and some 40 vehicles, carrying support staff and journalists.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Anna Smaill’s debut novel, The Chimes, is a fusion of fantasy and romance
booksMan Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Arts and Entertainment
One of the Pyongyang posters, the slogan of which reads: ‘Let the exploits of the northern railway conductors shine!’
art
Life and Style
Linguine with mussels and fresh tomatoes
food + drink
News
Actor Roddy Piper attends the world premiere of 'The Death of 'Superman Lives': What Happened?' at the Egyptian Theatre on April 30, 2015 in Hollywood, California.
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer