German company wants Dakar Rally to stay in South America
Winners Volkswagen wants the Dakar Rally to stay in South America and not to move back to Africa, the spokesman of the carmaker's motor-sport division said late Wednesday. Spokesman Stefan Moser raved about large and enthusiastic crowds at the two editions in Chile and Argentina and named security another aspect in favour of South America.
”You could drive through Germany and throw 100-euros bills out of the window. But you still wouldn't see such enthusiastic fans as here (in South America). It is just nicer to drive past happy people,“ Moser said.
”We had to change five windscreens at the last Dakar in Africa (2007) because stones were thrown at the cars.“
The Dakar was held in Africa in the past but moved to South America in 2009 for security reasons after been cancelled in 2008 due to terrorist threats.
Dakar boss Etienne Lavigne said on the weekend that ”there is a desire to go back to Africa,” with a final decision of the Dakar board expected by the end of February. The recent attack on the Togo football team in Angola ahead of the African Cup of Nations could, however, lead to new safety concerns.
VW have won both editions in South America and swept the podium in the latest edition which ended on Sunday. Carlos Sainz of Spain won from Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mark Miller of the US.
Moser said the tracks were as interesting in South America as they were in Africa, but did also not hide the fact that the region is an important market for the German carmaker. VW has major plants in Brazil and Argentina.