Lisbon-Dakar Rally Cancelled at Last Minute due to Al Qaeda Threat (NE)

The 2008 edition of the most famous rally in the world was today cancelled due to Al-Qaeda´s threats to the safety of the participants.

For the first time since it has been created in 1979, the organisers of the rally had to take the decision to cancel the event, just 24 hours before it commenced.

This decision was taken following conversations with the French Government, which took into consideration the Mauritania Government´s recommendations not to go ahead with the race this year.

An alternative route through Mali was considered, but the organization abandoned the idea because it would prove logistically impossible in such a short time frame (vehicles would need to pass through the country between the 11th and 19th of January).

Since December the 24th, and following the murder of four French tourists in an armed attack near Aleg in the south of Mauritania, doubts overshadowed this year’s Lisbon-Dakar rally. The CEO of the organization, Etienne Lavigne, examined safety issues, saying that the region in question was very dangerous and that it was necessary to alert the pilots and their teams about the risks.

Unfortunately the final decision was to cancel the event due to the safety of the participants not being guaranteed, with ‘too high a price to be paid if anything went wrong’, said organization´s leader.