The recent decision comes from the Chamber of Deputies of Chile (the lower house of Chile’s bicameral Congress), which failed to get the needed majority vote to continue hosting the race.
With 42 votes in favor of hosting the Dakar Rally again, 33 against, and 17 abstentions, the failed proposal was opposed mostly on environmental grounds, as many deputies thought that the environmental impact of the race on Chile’s terrain has been too great.
This news is an about-face for the Dakar Rally, as the ASO (the organizers of the Dakar Rally) seemed to have all but confirmed Chile and Argentina for competition back in January of this year.
That report by Argentina’s national new agency also indicated that Uruguay and Paraguay were close to finalizing deals with the ASO, with Bolivia and Brazil also showing interest in hosting the 2017 Dakar Rally.
For competitors and spectators alike, the loss of Chile from the race route likely means that the large dune sections that the Dakar Rally has become famous for will likely not feature in the 2017 edition.
As social and environmental pressures continue to daunt the ASO, the future of the Dakar Rally is on shaky ground. There is already talk of the race leaving the South American continent, but then the question has to be asked: where to next?