THE 2008 DAKAR CANCELLED BY THE ORGANISERS FOR SECURITY-RELATED REASONS
The organisers of the 2008 Dakar, Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.), today confirmed at a press conference in Lisbon that the decision had been taken to cancel this year's rally which was due to start from the Portuguese capital tomorrow morning, Saturday, January 5.
An official statement issued by A.S.O. stated that: "After different exchanges with the French government - in particular the Ministry for Foreign Affairs - , and based on their firm recommendations, the organisers of the Dakar have taken the decision to cancel the 2008 edition of the rally--"
The statement referred to "direct threats launched directly against the race", saying that "no other decision but the cancellation of the sporting event could be taken by A.S.O.".
"A.S.O.'s first responsibility," it continued, "is to guarantee the safety of all: that of the populations in the countries visited, of the amateur and professional competitors, of the technical assistance personnel, of the journalists, partners and rally collaborators. A.S.O. therefore reaffirms that the choice of security is not, has never been and will never be a subject of compromise at the heart of the Dakar rally."
The Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team, Valeo, BFGoodrich and all its partners fully respect the decision announced today by A.S.O. "It goes without saying that it is a huge shame that the 30th edition of the Dakar will not take place," declared Team Director Dominique Serieys. "After months of hard work and preparation, we were obviously looking forward to the challenge of building on our record of 13 Dakar victories with the Pajero/Montero which has won the last seven events. We also trust that the support for Africa initiatives in which we first became involved last year will continue to bear fruit. We had the privilege of making a financial contribution to SOS Sahel International yesterday here in Lisbon, and we were also due to present a cheque to the Dakar Solidario Fundation. This ceremony will go ahead as planned."