Fact checking: next year's Dakar presentation is late. VERY late. 2008 was ten years ago, so please don't compare this next edition with that year. For all the previous South American editions, by this point in time the following edition’s route was already made public.
It's is somewhat ironic that when finally ASO managed to pull out an epic edition, especially in the first days in Peru, that was now facing so many problems to put in place the next rally.
But we already spoke a lot about what was going on, published news about possibilities and about the eventual return to Africa, more exactly to Algeria. But, despite that, we want to update you on the most recent "news"... or wait, we don't know if we can call it news, maybe "possibilities" is a better word.
Last week, Enrique Ponce León, Minister of Tourism of Ecuador, keeping up with the most up to date way to communicate with the world, said via Twitter that an agreement was signed with the Director of EMCO and with General Manager of Aneta to allow Ecuador to host Dakar 2019. This country had been mentioned several times, and apparently it will finally make part of the hardest rally of the world.
Bolivia in many news, comments and rumours was excluded... But correodelsur.com published just recently that the route ASO has prepared is Peru - Bolivia - Peru. So, from excluded transformed into essential? Could it be that all the problems with altitude, severe weather conditions and even politics aren't so relevant after all? For sure, for some they aren't and on the other hand, some people who pointed strongly to those problems are usually not so big fans of Dakar Rally. We don't want to comment on the decision being right of wrong. There are in fact some issues with a route through Bolivia, but are any other options safer and more interesting for a race that wears the label "the hardest rally in the world"?
Chile is still negotiating, like we wrote in one of our most recent articles about this topic. Could it be in? Could it be out? We don't know. According to the news coming from the country, ASO could had lowered the amount of money required for the country to host the rally.
Argentina is in fact the weirdest case of all: some say the rally will go there. Even a caravan of organisation vehicles was apparently recorded travelling there. There is also a move from fans and local drivers and riders to make sure that Dakar Rally visits the country again in 2019, like in every year during its “exile” on the South American continent.
But, on the other hand, there are also many rumours about Dakar to leave Argentina. In the root of this could the attitude of the local government that doesn't hide the will to have F1. And also that they don't have money to host both F1 and Dakar. But they aren't brave enough to say once and for all which one will they drop.
The only country that we know will really be part of next year’s route is Peru. At least, ASO has confirmed it a tweet several weeks ago.
And here we are, anxious to know which countries will be visited next year. We are fans of the rally, and honestly, we would have loved to see this being solved long ago. But the fact is that the shortage of official news from ASO side and the constant "bits" of information popping out in South America's countries don't make our task to keep the facts right easy. This is the reason for this text being in the blog and not in the news section.
Mexico should have something to do with this. No, not with the route. But do you remember the Mexican soap operas? This one could make any scriptwriter proud: full of secrets, intrigues, twists and turns, keeping the tension constantly high and so the viewers glued to the television. Imagine Dakar as a male figure, and the countries as females... With whom will Dakar stay in the end? How many will he have at the same time? Will any of the ladies stab another in the back? And what about the money, could the man leave with the girls’ "gold" once more? And don’t forget the exotic African waving on the other side of the Atlantic... She can steal the guy from the Latin ones. And like any really good Mexican telenovelas, must have at least 1000 chapters...
Looks like on 11 May all this will end with the official presentation. At least we hope so...