• Jan 4th 2008 at 9:32AM
  • 38

Since 1979, the Dakar Rally has never been canceled. Individual stages have been eliminated, but never the entire rally. This year is marks the end of the run: Dakar organizer ASO have decided to cancel the race in light of terrorist threats from Mauritania. The rally was to run from Lisbon, Portugal to Dakar, Senegal from January 5-20.

Mauritania was formerly a French colony, and the ASO (Amaury Sport Organization, the same folks who put on the Tour de France) is a French organization. It appears that anything French is a target for the time being: on December 28, 2007, four French tourists were murdered in Mauritania by "a branch of Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb," and threats have also been made directly against the race.

Eight of the race's fifteen stages were to take place in Mauritania. After being advised not to hold the race by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ASO felt it had no choice but to cancel this year's edition. It's regrettable, and a sad day for motorsport, but it had to be done. Follow the jump to read the full press release.

Thanks for the tip, Young!

[Source: BBC]


After different exchanges with the French government - in particular the Ministry for Foreign Affairs - , and based on their firm recommendations, the organisers of the Dakar have taken the decision to cancel the 2008 edition of the rally, scheduled from the 5th to the 20th of January between Lisbon and Senegal's capital.

Based on the current international political tension and the murder of four French tourists last 28th of December linked to a branch of Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, but also and mainly the direct threats launched directly against the race by terrorist organisations, no other decision but the cancellation of the sporting event could be taken by A.S.O.

A.S.O.'s first responsibility is to guarantee the safety of all: that of the populations in the countries visited, of the amateur and professional competitors, of the technical assistance personnel, of the journalists, partners and rally collaborators. A.S.O. therefore reaffirms that the choice of security is not, has never been and will never be a subject of compromise at the heart of the Dakar rally.

A.S.O. condemns the terrorist menace that annihilates a year of hard work, engagement and passion for all the participants and the different actors of the world's biggest off-road rally. Aware of the huge frustration, especially in Portugal, Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal, and beyond the general disappointment and the huge economical consequences in terms of direct and indirect repercussions for the countries visited, A.S.O. will continue to defend the major values of great sporting events and will carry on its engagement for a durable development through the Actions Dakar, started 5 years ago in sub-Saharan Africa with SOS Sahel International.

The Dakar is a symbol and nothing can destroy symbols. The cancellation of the 2008 edition does not endanger the future of the Dakar. To offer, for 2009 a new adventure to all the off-road rally passionate is a challenge that A.S.O. will take on in the months to come, faithful to its engagement and its passion for sports.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Gee, can't the U.N. negotiate with the terrorists and convince them it is ok to kill anyone except Dakar Rally participants? The terrorists are reasonable types open to common sense ideas and just want to get along.
      • 7 Years Ago
      sad day for motorsport and the free world...
        • 7 Years Ago
        i swear.... this is the daty we need to all come together and just go a kill terrorist....

        im not for nuke war but i think its perfectley fine today.

        forget this troop b.s. and just kill.... i swear im soooo pissed right now!

        • 7 Years Ago
        "i swear.... this is the daty we need to all come together and just go a kill terrorist....

        im not for nuke war but i think its perfectley fine today.

        forget this troop b.s. and just kill.... i swear im soooo pissed right now!"

        The most ironic comment ever made on autoblog.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I can't believe this!!! January always makes me think about Dakar, memories of watching it on Speedvision/channel on my lunch breaks during my college internship... This is horrible!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Terrorism sucks.
      • 7 Years Ago
      HotrodJohn- totally different race- an epic one in itself, but totally different.
      What troubles me most about this is that it is evidence that the terrorist network in question has far greater reaches than just the middle east.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Once again this is another colony gone awry after the civilized world pulled out. Part of "Taking up the burden" is staying.
      • 7 Years Ago
      What the F? I know I'm really p-ed off, but I can't imagine all of the OEM's that spent so much in R&D for this race, like Mitsu developing a new Diesel just for it. Over a Year's work that doesn't get to be used, at least not just yet.
      • 7 Years Ago
      ARGH!!...this is ridiculous absolutely ridiculous!!...i pay more for gas,.have to go through the tedious task og getting visa,.customs, i mean...these terrorist are just stupid people...i stand corrected,..ignorant people....they just dont get it!!

      I wonder What Mitsubishi is doing right now???
      They had this one in the bag
      • 7 Years Ago
      islamic fundamentalists are the new nazi party. Chamberlin was wrong and history proved it you can not appease them. I think the world will have to relearn a history leason. Only total victory wins the peace, name a lasting negotiated peace treaty, anywhere?
        • 7 Years Ago
        How about the end of WWII? Seems that has held pretty well no?
        I do not think we have been in any wars with Japan or Germany since. but I may have been sleeping...

        Please define 'total victory'.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I swear they ran to Beijing one year, although it must have been an extra event as the stats don't show this, why not divert there in 09 after all it'll only have to run through iran, iraq, afghanistan, india and pakistan. No trouble there, is there?!?! Seriously though Paris-capetown was better as it was more point to point rather than driving in circles as the dakar has done in recent years to make it long enough. Maybe a forced route change may benefit the event in the long run.
      • 7 Years Ago
      US source of all evil? maybe...

      Western society decadent? sure...

      But causing cancellation of a Motorsport event? now you've lost my sympathy...
      • 7 Years Ago
      :-( very sad day indeed. I look forward to this every year since early 90's. I especially feel sad for all the privateers who devote most of their lives and finances to getting there every year. I wonder if there will be any compensation to these guys who really make the Dakar what it is?
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