Saturday, January 05, 2008

Death Race 2008: Dakar Rally Canceled

It is ironic to me that one of the most dangerous races in the world was cancelled due to 'safety concerns'. Doesn't bode well for tourism in the region... or sponsorship of the race itself. Seems like really short notice to cancel the event the night before... Why not just cancel the Mauritania stage or put in a detour?

This seems to be more of a political issue than safety. Looking at the Dakar Lingo page...

"Polisario Front - The rally was criticized for crossing through the disputed territory of Western Sahara between Morocco and Mauritania without consulting the Polisario Front, which is considered representative of Sahrawi people."

Looking at a list of security threats to Dakar, perhaps the French government was worried about land mines in the region?

It will be interesting to see what the sports media will fill the space usually reserved for Dakar... and how the Dakar organization will spin this.

The Amaury Sport Association really had no choice but to cancel, considering the danger to both the racers and spectators even after Mauritania had offered up a 3,000 man security force

Source: Racing News: 2008 Dakar Rally Canceled

"The Mauritanian government said the shooting of the French tourists and a separate attack on a military base that left three soldiers dead were isolated incidents and claims of an al-Qaeda plot had not been proved."

More info here.

I missed the news that Colin McRae had died in a September, 2007 near his Scotland home. Sad times...

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