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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.

Budapest-Bamako: Trans-Saharan Rally is set to start this Saturday

The capital of Hungary will host the starting ceremonies of the third annual Budapest-Bamako, Great African Run on January 12, 2008. The 148 cars, motorcycles, trucks and buses will have to travel 8896 kilometers from Budapest before they reach the capital of Mali.

This year's event has a tense start due to security concerns in Mauritania. The 2008 Budapest-Bamako will spend 5 days in the troubled North African country. "The Bamako will go ahead as planned, however we have asked all participants to carefully evaluate the security situation before Saturday," said Andrew G. Szabo director of the event.

The event is a zero assistance, extreme endurance rally where teams have to rely on their own resources in case of emergencies. The event was originally created for those who have always dreamt of joining the Dakar, but never had the proper funding. The Budapest-Bamako offers all the thrills and spills of a true African driving adventure.

There's a racing and touring category. In racing category teams have to finish daily stages on time and complete geo-caching challenges along the way to earn points. The race is not held on closed roads and is not timed. In touring category drivers have to complete 16 stages to reach Bamako on some of the world's most inhospitable terrain.

The Budapest-Bamako is also a unique exercise in direct charitable giving. Each team can adopt a village along the way and bring much needed medical and educational supplies to their villages. This year's Miss Hungary winner, Ildiko Bona, who is also competing, will inaugurate a well in the Mauritanian village of El Geddiya. The well is expected to provide fresh drinking water for 300 families. The well was financed by the entry fees of various teams.

Each year, the team performing the most outstanding charity work wins the Mother Teresa Charity award. Several teams are in tough competition for the coveted award this year. "There are teams who are racing in ambulance cars that will be donated to poor villages in Mali," said Mr. Szabo. "Others are bringing expensive medical equipment that will be presented to free clinics serving Bamako's poorest communities," added the organizer.

Quick facts at a glance

Start: January 12, 2008 8:00AM, Budapest, Kossuth ter
Finish: January 27, 2008: 14:00 Bamako, Mali
Distance:5468 miles (8896kms)
Number of teams: 148
Cheapest vehicle: 360Euro ($530) Polski 126 Fiat
Most expensive vehicle: 320,000 Euro ($470,000) Volvo Alfa 4x4 Bus
Avarage daily distance: 347miles (556km)
Youngest participant: 16 years old
Oldest participant: 64 years old

2008/01/10 | 01:28 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Budapest-Bamako

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