Dakar Rally Headed To South America?


Earlier today while reading the always interesting Gadling Travel Blog I came across this article about the Dakar Rally, which you’ll recall was recently canceled due to terrorist threats. While the 2008 edition may have been put on hold, it looks like race organizers aren’t about to stand by and watch the Rally disappear altogether.

Race director Français Etienne Lavigne has decided that the 2009 edition of the off road event will move to South America, starting and ending in Buenos Aires. The course will spread out across Argentina and Chile, and will offer a much different experience than what the racers have seen in the past as they blitzed through the Western Sahara Desert. I have no doubt that it will be no less demanding however, as befitting the history of this event.

This isn’t a permanent move however, as Lavigne promises that the Rally will return to it’s African roots once the political situation in that region returns to normal. It’ll be interesting to see an event like this take place in South America next year.

7 thoughts on “Dakar Rally Headed To South America?”

  1. That is awesome! I hope it really does go through South America. It’ll be a completely different race.

    I’m a regular reader of the Costa Rica HQ blog and am always looking for more things to do in South America. Looks like I’ve hit the mother load!

  2. I totally agree that this will make it a completely different experience. Should be fun, and I’ll be interested in seeing what the course will be like.

  3. “Lavigne promises that the Rally will return to it’s African roots once the political situation in that region returns to normal”

    uhhhh… not to make too broad of generalizations, but methinks that might be a while.

  4. Your point is well taken, although Western Africa has tended to be a fairly stable and safe destination for years. Hopefully it can return to that status and the race can go back there.

    For now though, I’m rather intrigued with taking the Rally on a World Tour, with the event moving all over the place. It would sure make for some interesting opportunities for different courses.

  5. AJ – you’re right, western Africa is fairly stable which is why I was hesitant to lump it in with my broad generalization, but I still thought it was worth noting.

    Totally agree that the idea of the Dakar — with all its recognition and respect — traveling to other continents could be really enjoyable to watch.

  6. I’m actually surprised we haven’t seen the Dakar Rally branch out to other countries already. With the lineage of that race and the marketing behind it, I could see maintaining the original event and having another companion race or two to go along with it.

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