Counting down to Dakar 2014

Around 700 vehicles have completed their three-week-long journey across the Atlantic.

Mount Aconcagua is just one of the spectacular sights Dakar Participants will take in during the 2014 edition of the rally. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Around 700 vehicles have completed their three-week-long journey across the Atlantic, making landfall in Argentina ahead of the start of the 2014 Dakar Rally.

The vehicles are those of Europe's Dakar 2014 competitors, support crews and media contingent.

The ship carrying the precious cargo docked at Campana over the weekend, as the clock ticks down to the start.

Support crew had to be quick about getting the vehicles ready to roll, reinflating tyres and charging batteries that had gone flat during the voyage.

Competitors will be allowed to collect their vehicles from 31 December to complete the last tweaks and tune ups ahead of the start.

The ship's arrival marks another major milestone in the countdown to Dakar 2014.

On 5 January, 538 vehicles will gun their motors and take off in Rosario, Argentina, on an arduous and often dangerous trek through three South American nations.

The race will cover 9,374km over 13 stages, with just one day to rest. There will also be five special stages, separating cars and lorries from bikes and quads.

This year, 151 cars, 71 lorries, 175 bikes and 41 quads will start.

The Dakar Rally has a rich history, that started in Africa. The race was moved to South America in 2009, amid security concerns.

South African driver Giniel de Villiers, driving for Team Imperial Toyota, is amongst the favourites to win in the car section in 2014.

Speaking to Eyewitness News , he said he'll be dedicating his race in memory of Madiba.

The former president died at his Johannesburg home earlier in December.

Eyewitness News will be travelling with his team to bring you a stage by stage account of the highs, lows and drama of the 2014 Dakar Rally.