2017 Dakar: a world of extremes

BFGoodrich®’s tyres face a punishing cocktail of dust, stones, sand and mud during January’s 9,000-kilometre marathon through Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia.

The 2017 Dakar’s highly-selective menu features seven stages that exceed 400km in length, a marathon leg and six days spent at altitudes of between 3,600 and 4,800 metres, plus a rest day in La Paz, the world’s highest capital city.

High altitudes effectively add to event’s famous challenge, not only in terms of possible sickness for competitors and followers, but also for tyres due to the big temperature fluctuations they entail.

Action will initially take BFGoodrich®’s teams across the fast but technically-taxing scrubland of the Gran Chaco region, close to the borders between Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia. On these flowing, rally-style stages, the drivers will want to make maximum use of their tyres’ potential in terms of traction, cornering and braking performance.

As they near the city of Tucuman, crews will face more mountainous terrain, with rugged tracks characterised by potholes, stones and rocks, where the emphasis will switch to the robustness of their BFGoodrich® tyres

The caravan will then visit the Bolivian Altiplano. Here, the stages will be longer, including some off-road driving and the event’s first dunes, a variety that will call for real versatility and careful tyre pressure management.

The 814km marathon leg is scheduled for after the La Paz rest day. “Punctures are practically unavoidable on an event like the Dakar, but BFGoodrich®’s All-Terrain KDR2, KDR and Baja T/A KR2 stand up to the job extremely well,” says the brand’s expert technician Dominique Bravy. “In 2009, Giniel de Villiers won the Dakar without reporting a single puncture!”

The final part of the route is just as varied, with a mix of off-road competition, dunes, rough trails and faster, dusty tracks. The stages will be long and particularly hot, with temperatures reaching around 40°C in the Andean foothills and Argentine plains.

Despite this exceptional spectrum of difficulties, conditions and weather, the regulations dictate that a single type of tyre must cover the entire event!

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