2012 Taklimakan Rally kicks off in Xinjiang

URUMQI, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- The 2012 Taklimakan Rally kicks off Thursday in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, offering a carnival for professional and amateur racers alike.

The rally is an annual off-road endurance race with most of its track winding through dunes, mud, and rocks.

This year's rally will last for 11 days, cover 4,000 kilometers, and span north and east Xinjiang. The course is new and has eight stages, first going north through Karamay and Altay, then east to Turpan.

More than 170 vehicles from 60 teams will attend the rally and be divided into car class and motorbike class.

Competitors are engaged in strong competition to win a "free ticket" to next year's Dakar Rally Raid, one of the world's largest motorsports event. It is the first time that the winner of an Asian motorbike rally can secure a place in the Dakar Rally.

The first Taklimakan Rally was held in 2005.


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