Stage 4’s liaison is 594km/369mi that’s the equivalent of London to Edinburgh, only instead of the Yorkshire Dales everyone (including support crews) have to cross the Andes.
The Dakar is never just about the timed stages, it’s as much about the liaison, so you’ve got suited up with all your body armour or fire suit, driven from London to Edinburgh, great! Now you have to race 315km/195mi back to York through desert and dunes.
Here’s what the organisers have to say:
“The competitors will have to prove they are worthy of entering Chile! A very early start and a climb to a height of 4,800 metres will precede the border crossing at Paso San Francisco. The really challenging section will begin with a gradual warm-up on the mining tracks, before drivers are faced with the reality of the Atacama Desert. The route here is open and sandy. Over the course of the last 40 kilometres, the giant dunes and basins of Copiapo will have to be tackled and for many this will be at night. Overcoming them will require finesse and instinct.”
Those two checkpoints in the sand at 251 and 261 mean navigation is going to be critical towards the end of another long day. That last 15km of dunes don’t look too inviting either for some they bring on the end of their Dakar, here’s hoping as many as possible make it to the bivouac!