Since 1979, the Dakar Rally has never been canceled. Individual stages have been eliminated, but never the entire rally. This year is marks the end of the run: Dakar organizer ASO have decided to cancel the race in light of terrorist threats from Mauritania. The rally was to run from Lisbon, Portugal to Dakar, Senegal from January 5-20.
Mauritania was formerly a French colony, and the ASO (Amaury Sport Organization, the same folks who put on the Tour de France) is a French organization. It appears that anything French is a target for the time being: on December 28, 2007, four French tourists were murdered in Mauritania by "a branch of Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb," and threats have also been made directly against the race.
Eight of the race's fifteen stages were to take place in Mauritania. After being advised not to hold the race by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ASO felt it had no choice but to cancel this year's edition. It's regrettable, and a sad day for motorsport, but it had to be done. Follow the jump to read the full press release.
Thanks for the tip, Young!
, i was really looking forward to watching it this year (now that i have DVR, i could have watched all the stages. i had already programmed it to record)