The 2008 Dakar is canceled
The terrorist threat in Mauritania got the better of the 30th edition of the most famous rally raids. Warned by the French government, ASO chose to cancel the entire event rather than modify the route on the eve of the start.
After a meeting late at night, the management of Amaury Sport Organization has decided and decided to cancel the thirtieth edition of the Dakar, which was to start from Lisbon tomorrow Saturday January 5.
Thursday January 3, the foreign ministry strongly advised against all French nationals to go to Mauritania, including the competitors of the Dakar.
After the assassination of four French tourists on December 24 in Mauritania and the attacks against the Mauritanian army, direct threats against the Dakar gradually became clearer, explained to the pilots the boss of the race, Etienne Lavigne..
In Lisbon, the official announcement of the cancellation had the effect of a cold shower on the 2,500 competitors and companions of the Dakar caravan, stunned. Many of them, professionals and amateurs, still hoped to be able to take the start … The efforts of a year are in vain and they will have to organize themselves now to return. The economic stake, as much for the participants as the partners and the crossed countries is indeed enormous..
The organizers had designed a 2008 edition with eight Mauritanian stages between January 9 and 18, to revive the sporting appeal and return to the spirit that made the success of this legendary rally..
Truncated by these eight stages over 15 days of racing, the event would have lost its sporting interest. The hypothesis of reorganizing a course by multiplying the loops on Morocco was not retained by ASO because for Etienne Lavigne, such a course would have insisted the competitors to go too fast and to take too many risks..
24 hours before the start, designing a new course and reorganizing all the logistics was an impossible mission … For the first time since its creation in 1979, the Dakar has therefore been purely and simply canceled and already, the questions about the future of rally raids in Africa are going well.
For several years the Dakar has not crossed Algeria, Niger or northern Mali for political reasons, and it avoids densely populated areas such as Guinea..
So much so that André Dessoude, the boss of the Nissan team, evoked this morning on France Info the movement of the rally on a safer continent: "we talked a lot about South America, it would perhaps be the occasion so that this rally moves to another continent "…
Etienne Lavigne assured the competitors that ASO undertook to reimburse the competitors for their entry fees and that there would be a new adventure in 2009. "The Dakar is sounded, but it is standing", concluded M . Vine.
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