Team HRC are excited for the 2015 Dakar Rally after attending the official presentation of the forthcoming 2015 edition of the Rally Dakar due to head out from Buenos Aires on January 4.
The world's toughest race looks set to be even more demanding than usual for both bikes and riders.
The Gabriel Pavilion in Paris‰Ûª famous Champs-Elysees played host to the gathering of aspiring victors in the countdown to the next Rally Dakar, with Team HRC among them.
Joan Barreda, HÌ©lder Rodrigues and Laia Sanz attended the French capital to represent Team HRC and to get the skinny on what looks set to be one of the most gruelling, as well as one of the closest and hardest-fought races in years.
"Today was a really impressive presentation of the Dakar 2015." Team HRC General Manager Martino Bianchi said. "The course will be very tough, especially with the two marathon stages, both very long and really close to each other in the race.
"I think that it will be a very interesting Dakar for all the competitors. Also Argentina, Chile and Bolivia will be very welcoming and accommodating to all the competitors. Team HRC is all ready for what is a very important target for us. We‰Ûªll be doing our best to achieve it.
"We know the countries, and have been through those regions before, but the first week in Argentina will be really tough, with some high-altitude stages." Team HRC lead rider Joan Barreda added. "The return back into the country will also be difficult.
"The days in Chile will be demanding, and we can expect complications in Bolivia with the altitude.
Ìätienne Lavigne, Dakar Race Director, indicated that altitude will be one of the race‰Ûªs predominant factors, as the route will involve several stretches above 3,600 metres. The total race length will be 9,295 km, of which 4,752 km ‰ÛÒ over half ‰ÛÒ will be timed special.
Some of the new features presented by Lavigne include two marathon stages, both set for the second week, after the rest-day in Iquique (Chile).
2015 Dakar Rally Stages
Stage 1: 4 January Buenos Aires ‰ÛÒ Villa Carlos Paz, 838km
Stage 2: 5 January Villa Carlos Paz ‰ÛÒ San Juan, 625km
Stage 3: 6 January San Juan ‰ÛÒ Chilecito, 657 km
Stage 4: 7 January Chilecito ‰ÛÒ CopiapÌ_, 909km
Stage 5: 8 January CopiapÌ_ ‰ÛÒ Antofagasta, 697km
Stage 6: 9 January Antofagasta ‰ÛÒ Iquique, 688km
Rest day: 10 January Iquique
Stage 7: 11 January Iquique ‰ÛÒ Uyuni (*) 717km
Stage 8: 12 January Uyuni ‰ÛÒ Iquique 805km
Stage 9: 13 January Iquique ‰ÛÒ Calama 539km
Stage 10: 14 January Calama ‰ÛÒ Salta (*) 891km
Stage 11: 15 January Salta ‰ÛÒ Termas RÌ_o Hondo 512km
Stage 12: 16 January Termas RÌ_o Hondo ‰ÛÒ Rosario 1024km
Stage 13: 17 January Rosario ‰ÛÒ Buenos Aires 393km
(*) Marathon Stage