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2009 Dakar Moves to South America!

Can you say, “Road Trip!” The Dakar is coming to our side of the Atlantic. It’s a long drive but… The Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) the owner of the Dakar Rally have announced that the 2009 Dakar will take place in Argentina and Chile.


The 2008 event had to be cancelled due to direct threats by terrorist organizations. The cancellation was the first in the event’s 30 year history and the 2009 event will be the first time the race will not be in Africa.

The course will be a 9000 km loop including 6000 km of specials between Buenos Aires, Valparaiso, and back to Buenos Aires. This will be the first time the rally will take place in South America. The race will start in Buenos Aires on January 3rd, go to Patagonia, the Andes mountains and venture into the Atacama desert, the world's driest, Lavigne said. The exact route is still being worked out. It will end on January 18th.

Patrice Clerc (President of the ASO) admitted the move away from Africa was "a bit of a gamble" - but not necessarily a permanent switch. In an interview the Press Association he stated, "When in January we were confronted with the cancellation of the race our thoughts naturally turned to South America," he told L'Equipe. "We will not forget the African continent. Africa is where the Dakar has its roots, the race will return there. "It's just a pause with Africa, because unfortunately the security conditions aren't there," Lavigne said.

About 500 competitors had been signed up for the 2008 event which was cancelled less than 24 hours before it was scheduled to begin.
Registration for the 2009 event will start on the 15th of May 2008. Competitors who were registered for the 2008 edition will have priority. Good thing – some competitors are pretty disappointed because of the cancellation. US racer Robby Gordon indicates that he’s been told by the ASO he’ll get back the $360,000 entry fee for his two car team with full crews. But he figures it was a $4.5 million investment by Robby Gordon Motorsports. Ouch!


The Dakar will hopefully bounce back from the events of 2008. Things are looking up already with the announcement of the 2009 event. There are a lot of motivated organizers and racers that are behind it who want to make it a success.

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