Beginning on New Year's Day next year, the rally will last a little over two weeks. During this time, participants from almost 50 nations will start in Beunos Aires, then travel across Argentina and Chile before returning to the Argentinean capital to finish the race.
In total, the Dakar Rally will take competitors on an 8,600km loop around South America, including such milestones as crossing the Andes, traversing the Atacama Desert with five sand stages, and a journey to the city of Iquique. Around three million people in South America will watch the event live, and over one-third of the world's population is expected to view it on TV.
This year, the winner of the South-American based Dakar Rally was Volkswagen, which competed with its Race Touareg 2 TDI - the first diesel car to ever win the event. Now, however, changes to the rally's regulations have been made to put diesel and petrol technology on a more even playing field, and the 2010 rally may well be anyone's event.