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Dakar Rally Gets Underway in South America


Transferred from Africa by the threat of terrorism, the Dakar Rally gets underway in South America where drivers will steer through Argentina and Chile.

A symbolic drive in Buenos Aries Friday begins the 9,574 - kilometer trek divided into 14 stages. The race will end on January 18 when the vehicles return to Argentina's capital.

The rally crosses the Pampas and into Patagonia before arriving at the Andes next Thursday. The drivers cross into Chile on January 9. The course follows alongside the Pacific for five days, including a loop in the Atacama Desert, before heading back to the start.

The 2008 Dakar Rally was canceled for the first time in its 30-year history because of security fears after four French tourists and three Mauritanian soldiers were killed before the start. Organizers hope to return to Dakar in 2011 or 2012.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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