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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Africa Race: New "Dakar"-Rally for those who still love Africa.

The cancellation of the Dakar in January and then the moving of the world's toughest rally to South America shocked all the cross country rally fans. It doesn't seem like the Dakar will return to the dunes of Mauritania soon ... but don't worry: Challenging races on the Black Continent are not over! Legendary rider, driver and rally organiser has a surprise: The Africa Race!

The first edition of Africa Race, the new African challenge created by Hubert Auriol (three-time winner of the Paris-Dakar), will take place from the 26th December 2008 to the 11th January 2009. With the support of the relevant federations and the partnership of the African authorities, this international challenge will go back to the core values of traditional rally events.

It will start in Marseille, a symbolic city, a link between Europe and Africa. The finish will be judged in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, after several thousand kilometres journeyed across Morocco and Mauritania with a rest day taking place in Chinguetti. This adventure in the heart of Africa and the countries that have formed the legend of rally events will bring together both amateurs and professionals (motorbikes, quads, cars and trucks).

"I am impassioned by Africa, I was born there, I have experienced many emotional events there and reliving an adventure that helps to consolidate the link between Europe and Africa is a project that is close to my heart" says Hubert Auriol. "I’ve had the good fortune to have experienced 30 years of outstanding adventures in Africa. Answering the request of the African countries to organise Africa Race is an opportunity for me to give back to them what Africa has given to me."

Having had the thrill of being a competitor, Hubert Auriol sees the organisation of Africa Race as an opportunity to hand down his experience and pass on the baton to younger generations. If today he believes that "living the dream is the essential motivation for not only those participating but also for those who will follow the race in the media", it’s because he is very familiar with the world of African Rally events. He too has dreamed of those deserts, of those grandiose landscapes and also sometimes of those hostile tracks where the type of adventure that makes the hearts of women and men beat faster becomes possible thanks to the organisation of such challenges.

Sharing of cultures, helping each other out daily - the participants of the Africa Race are in it for more than a simple sporting adventure. Be they familiar with Africa or newcomers, this Rally Event will be for them a veritable personal engagement which will meet their personal challenges.

At the request of Hubert Auriol and in a spirit of equality, Africa Race wants to be accessible to the biggest number of amateurs and professionals possible.

The rules and regulations have been conceived to take into account the experience and suggestions of the competitors and to calculatedly balance out the vehicle performances. The desired aim is to give every competitor the possibility to fulfil their dream to experience a great sporting and human adventure, despite any differences in vehicle or experience.

More than a simple sporting event and adventure in the heart of Africa, this new African Rally Event is committed to meeting a multitude of sport, safety and environmental criteria - unique to our era by involving the following concepts:

- easily manageable stages accessible to the biggest possible number of participants,
- a sporting equity with rules and regulations calculated and developed with the experience of competitors,
- controlled costs to be able to offer well calculated participation rates,
- convivial bivouacs where the competitors will be able to meet to share their adventures and exploits,
- the furthering of local economies as the organisers will work with local businesses on the African continent,
- a closer connection with African associations to support their activities,
- responsible behaviour, principally vis-à-vis safety, be it for the competitors or the inhabitants of the countries journeyed through,
- respect of the inhabitants and the lands of Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal,
- respect of the environment: the competitors and the organisation will ensure that no detrimental traces of their stay are left behind,
- an environmental awareness with an "experimental" category for vehicles powered by alternative energy, which will be able to test in the great outdoors and in extreme conditions: reliability, power, resistance and endurance,
- an information exchange with the international media.

Africa Race is putting together a production team with the technical and logistical elements worthy of a large international sporting event.

A team of 30 people will follow the race on location. Two helicopters will be at their disposal, as well as editing benches for the production of images and reports, ready for broadcasting.

New technology will also be integrated into media and broadcasting methods with, for example, webcams which will show uncut images of competitors from up-close. The aim being, to broadcast from the centre of the action so that the viewers can experience the race "live".

This approach has attracted the attention of Mr. Jean-Claude Dassier, Deputy Managing Director of the TF1 Group, with whom Africa Race is building a partnership with the editorial boards of TF1, LCI, TMC and Eurosport.

Africa Race is also taking part in discussions with the Lagardère Group through its subsidiary company, Sportsfive, the European leader in the management of sports audiovisual rights. They own a hundred or so television channels throughout the world and Africa Race is taking place in time to benefit from their experience gained on the Transorientale.

Online, Africa Race is already visible on the Racing Live portal, the number one international internet reference for mechanical sports. The written press, newspapers and magazines, are also interested in Africa Race, the new great African Rally Raid. Furthermore, negotiations are underway with mobile phone networks, a sector which is continuously evolving to meet a high demand for audiovisual material.

Technical specifics - Motorbike/Quad

- 450 CC Class (up to 450cc inclusive)
- Open Class (over 450cc)
- Quad

Technical specifics - Car/Truck

T1 Group: Modified Cross-Country Vehicles

- Petrol 4 wheel drive- Diesel 4 wheel drive
- Petrol 2 wheel drive - Diesel 2 wheel drive

T2 Group: Series Production Cross Country Vehicles

- Petrol - Diesel
- Open Group
- Experimental Group

T4 Group: Cross Country Trucks

New category: Africa Race Raid and Classic

2008/09/09 | 00:44 CET | Editor: MR/Africa Race/Rita Konya

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