With massive floods devastating northern Chilé, the Chilean government has had no choice but to end the country’s involvement in the 2016 Dakar Rally.
The decision was made in conjunction with the ASO, the Dakar Rally organizer, who will have to sort out a new route for the next Dakar, likely one that differs considerably from past events, as Chilé has been an integral part of the iconic rally raid since it moved to South America in 2009.
With whole towns lost to the flooding, Chilé’s focus is on rebuilding and supporting the displaced residents and rebuilding from the aftermath, which would make handling the logistics of The Dakar too much for that area to handle.
“We have carefully followed the situation and hope that despite these disasters, the region of the Atacama Desert and the cities that were affected regain their vigor,” said Dakar Director Etienne Lavigne.
“But the many reconnaissance trips that are necessary, in collaboration with the many Chilean administrative services, cannot be carried out according to the calendar we have planned.”
It is expected that the Dakar Rally will return to Chilé in 2017, but for next year the ASO will have to scramble to find a new route — ideally one that replaces the sand dunes of the Atacama Desert that have served as great obstacle in past races.
Source: Dakar Rally; Photo: KTM