Peru will take on the tough challenge of being the only venue of the traditional motor event, at the beginning of 2019
The Dakar Rally number 41 will take place from January 6th to 17th, 2019, entirely on Peruvian ground. Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina have renounced to the organization, so the Inca country raised its hand to take the challenge of doing it alone. For the French company Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), as well as for the countries that have been left out of the organization, this has been a media hit. This is because, for South America, the competition has represented since 2009 a pride for its sport, as well as a huge benefit for tourism and for the economy of the region.
In general, at the end of March of each year, the announcement about the route and the details of the organization was made, but this year has been different. The negotiations to carry out the competition did not bear results and one by one the conventional organizers withdrew. Chile argued through its Minister of Sports, Pauline Kantor, that the reason for its withdrawal were budgetary problems. This is due to the cuts of the current government for 4,600 million dollars until 2021, announced by the Minister of Finance at the beginning of May at a press conference. In addition, the rally has received criticism in previous years for the mistreatment of cultural and natural heritage, especially in the Atacama Desert, an ecosystem considered fragile, according to information from Telesur.
Bolivia also argued budget problems. However, it also transpired that no agreement was reached on the route. The government of Evo Morales, through the Minister of Tourism, Wilma Alanoca, argued that he wanted the rally to go through the Amazon region of the country and not the Andean as it has traditionally been, according to information from the Peruvian newspaper Gestión. The goal was for the race to be added to the government's plans to promote its natural and cultural diversity. However, Bolivia leaves open the door to return in 2020, as the rally represents around 150 million dollars as it passes through the country.
The case of Argentina is also explained by the same reasons: budget problems. According to Argentina's La Nación newspaper, there have been recurrent protests about the mistreatment of ecosystems, government investment and damage to the country's heritage. As if that were not enough, Ecuador postponed its participation as an organizer until 2020. Welcoming competition is a difficult task due to factors such as investment to organize it, infrastructure, services, security, sponsors, logistics and other aspects that must be covered.
Peru will be the solo host of 2019, which will have 10 stages that will run through its deserts. The former president of the Peruvian Institute of Sports (IPD) told Peru's Expreso newspaper that at least two stages should be run in the north of the country, hit last year by the phenomenon of the "Niño costero". This is because taking the rally to this area will bring benefits to the affected population and at the same time will give the race new horizons with unique landscapes. Thus, the Peruvian government has in mind to promote its tourism through its natural and cultural riches. The great award will be on January 18th, a date that coincides with the founding of Lima in 1535, which will surely be a great celebration.
The Dakar Rally is now 10 years old in South America, after leaving Europe and Africa for terrorist threats. In South America, it has found a new home with great success, despite the stumbling of this year in terms of organization. With the possible incorporation of Ecuador and the interest of Colombia in the route, it would increase the sustainability of the race, in addition to making it more attractive due to its natural diversity. For now, Peru will have its rally, competition that the country will look forward to.
Latin American Post | Luis Angel Hernández Liborio
Translated from "Se derrumba el Rally Dakar: Argentina, Chile y Bolivia se retiran de la organización del evento"