Terror-stricken Dakar Rally heads to Central Europe, begins a new series

Amaury Sport Organization, the group behind the Dakar Rally, has found a new venue after threats of terrorism caused the group to cancel the annual rally last month. The newly rescheduled and renamed race will be held April 20th through 26th in Romania and Hungary, offering a markedly different venue for an event that would otherwise be held in the arid landscape of the Sahara.

The Central Europe Rally will cover some 3,000 kilometers over the course of six days, with around half of the competitions taking place on special stages. While the title is different, all the big name teams from Dakar will be in attendance, including BMW, KTM, Mitsubishi, Schlesser and Volkswagen.

This first event also stands as the inaugural race of the "Dakar Series," which was supposed start in 2009, but will now begin a year ahead of schedule. The new series seeks to bring the excitement and media attention of the Dakar Rally to a number of other events spread across the globe and has been in the works for the last several years. Here's to the A.S.O. for turning lemons into Margaritas. The full press release is after the jump.

[Source: Amaury Sport Organization via WCF]


Amaury Sport Organisation announces the creation of the Central Europe Rally. This new rally organised under the « Dakar Series » certification will take place from April 20th to the 26th in Hungary and Romania. Scrutineering and administrative checks will take place on 19th of April in Budapest.

The Central Europe Rally, between Budapest and Lake Balaton in Hungary, crossing Romania, will consist of an extremely varied and technical route. Nearly half of the total distance, 3000kms, will be run in special stages. The opening of entries is planned on 11th of February. A.S.O has already received the support of all the major teams. BMW, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, Schlesser and KTM have already shown a great interest for this new event, image of the development that A.S.O. wishes to bring to the sport.

The Central Europe Rally will be the first event to be run under the "Dakar Series" certification. This certification will be given to other races that offer the same high organisation and safety standards, strong participation and media attention as the legendary Dakar. With the Central Europe Rally (*), the aim of A.S.O. is to enable the competitors of the Dakar, which was cancelled on 2008, to enter a new rally with some extremely advantageous conditions and offer their sponsors exposure in a major international event.

The "Dakar Series", which was planned to start in 2009, is a project that A.S.O. has been working on for a long time. It will begin one year ahead of schedule. This first Central Europe Rally is a milestone of a series of new events intended to expand besides the Dakar Rally. The 2009 Dakar edition will be announced in the weeks to come.

(*) Due to terrorist threats, the 2008 Dakar edition was cancelled. Unfortunately last Friday a new terrorist attack happened again in Nouakchott (Mauritania)

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