Chile has ruled itself out of hosting part of the 2019 edition of the Dakar Rally endurance motorsport event, citing financial difficulties.
Event organiser ASO had been due to confirm the route for next year’s event earlier this week but it has been forced to delay the announcement following Chile’s withdrawal.
According to multiple reports, Chile had been lined up as part of a route that would include fellow South American countries Ecuador and Peru. Ecuador, which has never hosted the event before, remains in contention, according to the Motorsport.com website. The report added that Bolivia and Argentina are possible destinations along with Peru, which has already been confirmed as a host country.
Chile’s Minister of Sport, Pauline Kantor, said: “Next year we will not be in the Dakar. (We are) hoping to return in 2020 with all the protection to our cultural heritage and environment.”
ASO has been discussing plans for next year’s route with the respective governments of the South American countries for some time. ASO had been keen on incorporating Chile into the route and the country’s withdrawal represents a setback.
The 2018 Dakar Rally took place from January 6-20, with the event having been held across Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.