The biggest rally in the World will bring thousands of tourists to Portugal

Yesterday, in Paris and Lisbon, the organisation of Euromilhões Lisbon- Dakar 2006 revealed the route of the 28th Edition of the race which will be held between the 31st of December and the 15th of January next year. The enormous interest which the Lisbon-Dakar 2006 immediately raised is confirmed by the fact that the entries in all categories were quickly filled, with the list of the group of competitors admitted to the race being closed in June. A.S.O. announced that the GRAND START of its race is programmed for the Portuguese capital in the next three editions.

Lisbon, which is the host city for the first time, has reserved one of the most prestigious and symbolic areas of the capital - the area between the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Cultural Centre - for the scrutineering as from the 28th, the closed vehicle park and the official start podium on the 31st of December.

Besides the 508 competitors, the maximum number of entries for which the organisation had the logistical capacity to accept in the Euromihoes Lisbon - Dakar 2006, the city will be invaded by over 240 service vehicles, besides the organisation's vehicles, which will occupy the side roads in Belém which, out of historical curiosity, was the point of departure for the Portuguese navigators when they went off on their maritime conquests 500 years ago and in which, by coincidence, Senegal was one of the first destinations.

Although the Euromilhões Lisbon - Dakar 2006 has the start booked for the morning of the 31st of December, the competitors who had the privilege of having their entry into the most famous and challenging sporting race in the world confirmed in good time, will begin to arrive in the Portuguese Capital right after Christmas.

Besides the expected participants, the 240 Motorcycles, 188 Cars, 80 Trucks, and a further 240 service vehicles, there will be many tourists who, encouraged by the Euromilhões Lisbon - Dakar 2006, will not miss the opportunity to visit Lisbon and closely follow the grand start from the podium, with the two stages continuing on through the roads of the Alentejo and the Algarve (Lisbon-Portimão and Portimão-Málaga) totaling 198 kilometres raced against the clock.

The participation of big stars in World Racing, official teams and particularly the formation which will defend the Portuguese flag, will be the object of the curiosity of thousands of spectators,who will certainly not miss the opportunity to see their idols up close.

Carlos Sainz who will take part in the Euromilhões Lisbon - Dakar 2006 in a Official VW Team will attract a large Spanish contingent,both to Lisbon and along the route as the caravan will pass through the neighbouring country to the docks in the city of Málaga.

Lisbon will have the privilege of hosting the start to the most media-covered of ATV races. For the first time the Dakar will have two stages in the competition which are important for deciding the order in which the drivers will start off on the 3rd stage - the 314 km of the special between Nador and Er Rachidia on Moroccan soil.

The group of Drivers and official vehicles accompanied by large service structures will attract the heightened curiosity of the media.The contact of the Portuguese public with the Lisbon-Dakar 2006 will be a unique moment and will certainly be taken advantage of by the true lovers of ATVs, who will have the possibility of following the two stages held on Portuguese soil in person.

Carlos Sousa will be the "Captain" of the Portuguese representation and will lead the Portuguese formation with 27 teams entered. Sousa will commemorate his 10th participation in the Dakar and is already included amongst the most famous drivers of this discipline, where we will have principally the Official Drivers of Volkswagen and Mitsubishi and also Jean-Louis Schlesser.

The Portuguese driver will enter with Nissan backed heavily by the manufacturer, with the objective of showing what its worth along the 5,000 km of the special stages which form part of the total of 9,043 km.

500 years after the ships of Infante D. Henrique leftBelémtoconquer the World, 508 teams will set off from the podium,in front of the Jerónimos Monastery on the last day of the year to travel,across land and sand, to the same place, Dakar.

After the Expo 98 and the Euro 2004, withtheEUROMILHÕESLISBON-DAKAR the city of Lisbon will once again be at the centre of world attention, where lovers of racing and culture will find a prime place to say farewell to 2005, reconciling the scrutineering of over five hundred competitors with a visit to the National Coach Museum right next door.