Next up in the Dakar Rally is the Desafio Inca (Inca Challenge)
The race will be held in Ica and its surrounding area. Riders can look forward to daily looping routes that will have to be completed over two laps.
The Inca Challenge ends on Sunday, September 16th some 900 kilometres later.
This Thursday, September 13th, sees the mandatory administrative and technical shakedown prior to a ceremonial starting ramp.
On Friday, the first of the three stages of the 2018 Inca Challenge gets underway.
The Desafio Inca is to take place in the province of Pisco, where there are numerous natural sites. They are coloured by the ancient history of the place, whose legacy is unparalleled in the world, such as the Nazca lines. We are also the birthplace of a famous cocktail!
The city is located on the Ica River about 300km to the south of Lima, along the desert coast of southern Peru. Further south along the Pan-American highway lies the city of Nazca.
We are 200 kilometres south of Lima. The city is popular with travellers who stop off to explore the Paracas National Reserve, whose protected areas will naturally be avoided by the rally. This natural site covers 335,000 hectares, the largest part of which is next to the sea and is referred to as the Paracas Peninsula. The location is extremely favourable to the development of marine species and there is a special viewing area for seals and sea lions.
To explore the past, you can take to the heights (like the numerous pelicans and gulls that frequent the area) to see the famous Paracas Candelabra. This geoglyph nearly 200 meters in height carved into the side of the desert, and probably more recent than those constructed by the Nazca, may have been designed to serve as a landmark for sailors.
The Ica desert
The Ica region, in the administrative province of Pisco, offers vast, majestic expanses, just discovered by the Dakar. It covers more than 21,000 km2, an area approaching that of Belgium. The desert imposes its rugged beauty on the few towns. Whether driving or on escorted tours, visitors can discover massive dunes or enjoy the comfort of the Huacachina Oasis. Finally, in the south of the region, we find the dazzling Nazca lines, geographical forms stretching several kilometres across the ground since the pre-Inca era and only visible from the sky.