NASCAR & Auto Racing

Following African terrorism fears, 2009 Dakar Rally moves to South America

PARIS – Argentina and Chile will host the 2009 edition of the Dakar Rally, which was canceled this year because of fears of terrorism in Africa.

Organizers said Monday the race will start in Buenos Aires on Jan. 2 and finish in the Argentine capital Jan. 18. The full route will be announced Tuesday in Argentina by Patrice Clerc, who runs the company that organizes the rally.

This year marked the first time that the 30-year-old rally, one of the biggest competitions in automobile racing, was called off. The threat of terrorist attacks pushed the element of risk to levels organizers deemed unacceptable.

The roughly 550 competitors were to have embarked on a 16-day, 5,760-mile trek through remote and hostile dunes and scrub from Portugal to Dakar, Senegal.

The race, once known as the Paris-Dakar, was canceled following warnings from the French government about safety after the al-Qaida-linked Dec. 24 slaying of a family of French tourists in Mauritania. Eight of the competition’s 15 stages were to be held there.

Organizers promised that the cancellation did not mean the end of the Dakar race.

  Comments