THE DAKAR IS CLOSING TO DAKAR
The Dakar 2020 on the Saudi Arabian track ?
The "King of rally raids" could once again change continent after eleven editions in South America. To finally find Africa, its (all) home ground? No, but not far: Saudi Arabia would have signed a five-year contract with the organizer, ASO.
From the analysis of, the Journal moto du Net noted the seizure of the mechanics of the Dakar: with only one country visited – Peru -, a format shortened to ten days and specials in the form of loops, the "King of Rallies" was literally going in circles. A shame for an event supposed to embody the exotic adventure in its raw state !
- MNC of January 18, 2019 :
- MNC special file :
In the opinion of both the competitors and the organizer, Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), the Dakar must imperatively reconnect with its exceptional dimension to avoid becoming an ordinary race. Problem: the horizon seems blocked in South America, where the rally migrated in 2009 after 30 – beautiful – years spent in Africa…
The successive withdrawals by Argentina, then Chile and finally Bolivia last year are all indicative of a cohabitation that has come to the end of the cycle. The Dakar may well move crowds in South America, this part of the globe is each year more difficult between climatic and humanitarian tragedies, geopolitical crises and ecological pressures..
Why not then return to North Africa, to the roots of this legendary race imagined by Thierry Sabine in 1978? With its endless tracks in the Sahara and its arrival on the Lac Rose, such a return would be magical … but still does not seem relevant, despite a calm situation since the cancellation of 2008 against a background of. The proof with the success of on the tracks of the "real" Dakar !
A five-year contract with Saudi Arabia ?
ASO is currently considering two options: the first in the Middle East, the second in South Africa. And according to several sources said to be "close to the matter", it is Saudi Arabia – and its petrodollars – which would have the favors of the promoter. Too bad, because MNC can testify that South Africa is full of magnificent landscapes to explore by motorbike, as below with the Africa Twin !
According to Qatari driver Nasser Al Attiyah, winner of the Dakar 2019 by car, a "five-year" contract has even been signed between Saudi Arabia and ASO, for a pharaonic amount of "80 million dollars". The departure would already be scheduled in Riyadh in January 2020.
- MNC of March 29, 2019 :
But if Saudi Arabia does not lack topographical assets with its vast desert expanses, the question arises of the reception reserved for foreign participants in this country far from being a model of openness … Not to mention " participants "like Laia Sanz or Julie Vanneken, who plans to run on, or journalists not particularly appreciated by the Saudi regime.
For Al-Attiyah, solutions will be found because "sport is above politics". According to the pilot, Saudi Arabia will not miss this opportunity to benefit from the influence of the Dakar … even if it means taking exceptional measures.
ASO has so far neither confirmed nor denied this thesis of a move to the Middle East. The honor of announcing this change of continent will perhaps go to the French David Castera, former motorcycle and car competitor, who succeeds Etienne Lavigne at the head of the Dakar this year … To be continued on MNC: stay tuned !
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