Stephane Peterhansel of France and copilot Jean Paul Cottret of France drive their Peugeot in the Dakar Rally. Photo: Andres Stapff/Reuters

PARIS – The 2019 Dakar Rally will be run solely in Peru with the start and finish in Lima, organiser Etienne Lavigne announced Friday, adding the race aimed to return to Africa in 2020.

The 41st edition of the rally, which will take place between January 6-17 next year, is a looping 10-stage rally-route mapped around the Peruvian deserts, with organisers admitting it “promises to be one of the sandiest in the history of the rally”.

“Each stage will be harder than the previous, which will create a suspense filled battle just until the final days.”

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Not only is it the first time a sole country has hosted the rally, but new rules mean that competitors who suffer a mechanical breakdown or accident in the opening week that could lead to withdrawal will be able to rejoin the rally from the rest day on.

Those rejoining would return to competition in a distinct classification to guarantee fair-play.

Turning to a potential return to Africa, Lavigne told AFP that worsening austerity in Argentina and Chile, coupled with general difficulties hosting the Dakar in South America meant other avenues were being pursued.

Daniel Nosiglia Jager of Bolivia in action at the Dakar Rally. Photo: Andres Stapff/Reuters
Daniel Nosiglia Jager of Bolivia in action at the Dakar Rally. Photo: Andres Stapff/Reuters

“We already have some avenues open, notably in Algeria, Angola and Namibia, where we've had very high-level talks with for several months,” said Lavigne.

“If we can no longer host it in South America, we must find countries that have a topography that can offer up 10-12 days of competition,” Lavigne said. “This can be found elsewhere provided you have a little bit of time to anticipate it.”

The Dakar was moved from Africa in 2009 because of security issues that saw the 2008 rally cancelled.