For the third year in a row the Dakar Rally, the most demanding motorcycle, car and truck resistance race in the world, will be held in northern Chile, where the territory will challenge the best drivers from each specialty in a long journey across the attractive and unique Atacama Desert.
Chile will be in charge of organizing the event, together with Argentina, and this year the state contribution will be less because of the altered financial priorities in the country following the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit central-southern Chile, damaging road infrastructure, buildings, and private residences, in addition to taking the lives of close to 500 Chileans, according to the latest official data.
Until this year the Chilean state institution Chiledeportes was the competition’s main sponsor, but the institution’s new mission now is to reduce the cost of the race, which is expected to be close to US$ 7 million, an amount that Argentina will pay.
The negotiations to confirm Chile as the seat of the global event were led by Gabriel Ruiz-Tagle, recently appointed undersecretary for sports by President Sebastián Piñera. Ruiz-Tagle met with representatives of Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), the French company that holds the race, and they backed Chile as an organizer.
The head of Chiledeportes said that he hopes to obtain private sector contributions to bridge the gap in resources needed to organize the rally properly, which includes the best international representatives of the specialty, including the Chilean Francisco «Chaleco» López, who came in a meritorious third place this year.
The talks held with the ASO, in addition to confirming that the rally will be held in Chile, allowed the total cost to be brought down and now the country will have to pay US$ 2 million less to hold the race.