NBCSN Kicks Off 2014 Dakar Rally Coverage Today

More than 450 teams of competitors will compete in the world's most challenging off-road endurance race starting today, when NBCSN begins its coverage of the 2014 Dakar Rally at 5 p.m. ET.

This year's race is 35th installment of the Dakar Rally, and will span more than 16,000 miles and three South American countries. The event will make its way through Argentina and Bolivia before concluding on Saturday, Jan. 18 in Valparaiso, Chile. This is sixth running of the race in South America, and the first time that the event is racing in Bolivia.

NBCSN will present coverage of all 13 stages of the race beginning today at 5 p.m. ET, with NBC Sports Group F1 essayist Sam Posey leading Day 1 coverage. NBC Sports Group's lead F1 play-by-play voice Leigh Diffey will provide commentary from Day 2 throughout the remainder of the 2014 Dakar Rally.

Diffey on the Dakar Rally: "Many racing events claim to be the ultimate test of man and machine, but they simply do not compare to the Dakar Rally. Make no mistake - racing for 24 continuous hours is tough, but competing for two weeks is an all-together different deal. The grueling and at times life-threatening nature of this event is awe-inspiring. The spectacular scenery sometimes softens the immense bravery and sheer gritty determination of the competitors. Dakar is an event like no other."

Former NASCAR and IndyCar driver Robby Gordon will look to improve on last year's 14th place overall finish in a field of 153 cars. Gordon, who is racing in his ninth Dakar Rally, had a career-best third-place finish in 2009. Stephane Peterhansel will aim for his 12th Dakar Rally title, while Cyril Despres, who won last year in the motorcycle category, will look to tie Peterhansel's record of six titles in the discipline. Despres will be one of 173 riders, making it the busiest category in the event. Last year's winners in the truck and quad categories, Eduard Nikolaev and Marcos Patronelli, will look to repeat as well.

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