The Dakar Rally is one of those crazy events that it takes a certain kind of personality to do. I mean, why else would you willingly spend days and days speeding off-road across the Sahara with the inherent risk of death? But some people like that kind of thing, and since its creation in 1979, the annual event has attracted thrill seeking participants from around the globe.
Originally, the race went all the way from Paris, France to Dakar, Senegal but in recent years the event has commenced in places such as Lisbon and Barcelona. True fans of the “international nomad event” were disappointed when security concerns in Africa forced this year’s version to be canceled the night before it was supposed to begin.
The Rally is such a big deal that the organizers are committed to not letting political instability get in the way and have therefore decided to move the 2009 edition to South America with Buenos Aires as the start and finish. The Dakar Rally director Français Etienne Lavigne promises that the stint in Argentina and Chile is only temporary and that the Rally will return to its African roots when the “geopolitical situation is more stable.”
As for European competitors, participating on another continent should not cause worry; their cars will be shipped by boat across the Atlantic sometime late November. And Latin American participants will get to take advantage of a special entrance fee. Looks like the Dakar Rally will truly have gone global. But I still think the 2009 edition just might need a different name en español. Suggestions anyone?