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65-year-old Chinese racer to compete in Dakar Rally 2019 in Peru

(CNTV)    08:46, December 26, 2018

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The 65-year-old Liang Yuxiang from Chengdu, capital city of southwest China's Sichuan Province, will depart for Peru on December 31 to attend the Dakar Rally 2019, the world's toughest auto rally.

The rally will run from January 6 to 17.

Though the Dakar Rally has seen its share of elderly drivers – 56-year-old Carlos Sainz from Spain won two titles in 2010 and 2018, 53-year-old Stephane Peterhansel from France even won the championship a record 13 times – no Chinese rally driver over 50 years old has ever tried the event due to the high cost of attendance with the rally moving to South America, while Chinese drivers consider racing to be a young men's sport.

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However, Liang believes otherwise. His love affair with the automobile began with road trips back in 2006, when Liang drove with his wife and friends from Chengdu to Rome. Two years later, he rented a car and traversed the United States, going from West to East Coast.

After that, Liang's passion turned to tougher and more exciting rally events in the desert and flood land. In 2008, Liang Yuxiang and his son attended the Taklimakan Rally and that was just the beginning of Liang's long journey of rally events that included the China Grand Rally and the Silk Way Rally.

In 2012, Liang encouraged his son to attend the Dakar Rally and accompanied his child all along the way. That's when Liang made up his mind to compete in the event by himself someday. He also met a 62-year-old German driver who told Liang that he expected to meet him at the event.

"The Dakar Rally is a challenge I bring to myself. (When I was there with my son), I saw drivers born not only in the 1960s and 1950s, but also in the 1940s. They are older than me but they still went out there to compete. I want to learn from their example," said Liang.

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Though the Dakar Rally 2019 will only take place in Peru, the course poses the optimal experience for a driver on the continent: the country's capital Lima will be both the starting point and the goal as the total 5,000-kilometer course brings drivers to 1,700-meter-high Duna Grande, the world's second highest sand dune.

As the world's toughest rally event, the Dakar Rally has seen a lot of drivers fail to finish. Liang, though basically a rookie for the event, did not seem to worry.

"I will try my best to finish it. Others may aim for reaching the goal as quickly as possible but at this age, I consider finishing the event the priority."  

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