The Dakar and Argentina ... Love at first sight

On January 2, 2009, the toughest competition in the world began to write its history in South America with its start in Buenos Aires before more than 500.000 people.

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The "live and direct" of an event that was always followed thousands of kilometers away can be very shocking for locals and strangers. So the arrival of the Dakar in South America in 2009 sparked popular jubilation. And more so in a country as ironclad as Argentina, which in the first edition in this region hosted a large part of the test.

Dakar 2009 tour
The route of that first Dakar in South America.

The prologue was a clear postcard of what was to come. That Friday, January 2, the symbolic start in Buenos Aires was unforgettable. A crowd approached Avenida 9 de Julio. It was estimated that there were half a million people that evening. Is that the event attracted not only the fan of motorsport, but those who caught their attention to see the trucks and hear their horns. Those giants that until two years before could only be followed on television. It was the Dakar just arrived from Africa ...

The participants, chochos of happy. It is that they encountered a human tide that gave them warmth and hospitality. They went from the little public presence they had in Africa to a mass that was expectant throughout the race.

Dakar 2009 Giniel DeVilliers
Giniel De Villiers achieved the victory in cars.

There were a total of 15 stages, of which 12 were run in our land and the rest in Chile. That baptism that shook the Argentines with the start at the Obelisk, lasted two weeks. The aerial images of the cross-country vehicles were striking. Or fulfilling links next to street cars and even loading gasoline like any neighbor's son.

But the icing on the cake was another "shock": the first triumph in a stage of an Argentine: Mark Patronelli he won the seventh set that joined Mendoza with Valparaíso. That unknown and "insolent" Buenos Aires native from Las Flores made history and with his Can-Am he came to fight for the victory in the new quadricycles category to the Czech Joseph Machacek (Yamaha), finally winner.

Dakar 2009 Marcos Patronelli
Marcos Patronelli was the Argentine hero.

The South African Giniel de Villiers (Volkswagen), in cars; the Spanish Marc Coma (KTM), on motorcycles; and the russian Firdaus Kabirov (Kamaz), in trucks; they also were left with glory.

Several years have passed and the Dakar is not in Argentina. It is not known if he will return. But that January 2009 was unforgettable, like every first time.

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Diego durruty

Journalist with 32 years of experience. Worked in magazines STROKE, The graphic, teammate y Only TC, on the Internet sites SportsYa!, e-driver.com y kmcero.com and on the radios Rock pop y vorterix.com. He covered the Dakar rally for the German agency dpa. He is currently the director of the portals Automundo.com.ar y NationRPM.com, host the podcast motorbit and the magazine Two Daring Guys (Campeones Radio, Radio Arroba and Spotify). In addition, he is a columnist in WorldSport (AM 570) and teacher in SPORTS.

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