ASO exploring Africa return for Dakar Rally

Etienne Lavigne, the director of the Dakar Rally at event operator ASO, has revealed that talks have taken place over the possible return of the endurance motorsport event to Africa from 2020.

The rally moved to South America in 2009 after the 2008 edition – which was scheduled to start in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon and conclude in Senegal – was cancelled due to terrorism concerns.

Earlier this month, Chile ruled itself out of hosting part of the 2019 edition of the rally, citing financial difficulties, leaving Peru as the sole host.

“You can imagine that with the context of this year, it is a necessity for us to think about other locations, because we cannot keep suffering over decisions that we cannot control,” Lavigne told the Autosport motorsport news website.

“We cannot afford this situation, because the Dakar is the largest rally in the world and the most important at all levels. For this reason, we need to plan a future. We have started work for several months to build contacts in other countries such as Algeria, Angola and Namibia.

“We have made several trips to Algeria to meet with the political leaders and we know that there is a willingness to put together an event of this kind. All the teams and drivers wait every year to have an attractive and interesting Dakar. That's why you have to think of other countries for the next editions."