Saturday, January 05, 2008

Danger at Dakar

Danger is nothing new to the Dakar Rally, and Saturday was supposed to be the day rally racers like Carlos Sainz began their 16-day, 5,760-mile adventure across some of the world’s most lethal terrain.

But the threat of an al-Qaida-linked attack on the vulnerable Dakar Rally — an inviting target that zigzags through barren, unpopulated areas in western Africa — forced organizers to call off the epic event Friday. They cited warnings from the French government after the Dec. 24 al-Qaida-linked slaying of four French tourists in Mauritania, home of eight of the rally’s 15 stages.

Part of the Dakar’s charm is its tough geography, but the lawlessness of the land won out. For the first time in 30 years, dune buggies won’t negotiate endless camel grass and motorcycles won’t kick up sand in the Sahara.

Sainz, who drives the Red Bull Volkswagen, was a favorite to win after claiming five stages in 2007. “You spend a year preparing for this rally. It is a year of hopes and dreams lost,” the Spaniard said.


Anonymous Brian said...

Way to start of the year TRB! AJ was 5th and 6th fastest in the morning sesssion. Hopefully he can keep it up and Brian can match it next week!

11:55 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Can't wait to see the afternoon speeds, and I'm ready for some drafting practice. Hopefully AJ is learning alot.

1:55 PM  

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