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Dakar 2008: What they said after the cancellation of the Dakar

Marc Coma: "For me it is a very difficult moment. I have full confidence in the organisation, so accept their decision. But I have to think about also all the things we have lost: months’ work of the mechanics and the whole team... And, you know, sporting life is short. So I am really not happy about this decision, but safety is the most important. As for the future, I love to compete in Africa, so I really hope that Dakar will go on."

Helder Oliveira (Portugal): "It’s a very difficult moment. I couldn’t even think about such a decision. Yesterday when I heard the first rumours, I thought that some stages may be modofied or cancelled, but the rally itself will be run. I heard the news about cancellation only this morning, but I couldn’t believe it until this moment. I see the future of this sport very dark now..."

Christian Meier: "This would have been my first Dakar, so I am really disappointed, of course. But if there will be a next Dakar, it’s sure I will come. I worked a lot for being here, I want to race and Dakar is the biggest challenge."

André Dessoude: "If the organisation made such a decision I am sure that they had very serious reasons for that. Safety must be the highest priority. Of course, financially it’s very bad for all teams, for us as well, and there will be very sensitive questions concerning that but I’m sure that a solution can be found."

David Casteu (KTM Austria): "Then I go skiing."

Stéphane Henrard: "I’ve been around the Dakar for some ten years now, we had political problems for many times and ASO always made the best possible decision. If now they decided like this that means that such a decision were needed. Unfortunately, now the situation is the same in many countries in Africa which makes things very difficult for the organisers."

Balázs Szalay (Hungarian driver and representative of the ASO in Central and Eastern Europe): "As a driver of course I feel really sorry. This also affects my team in a very serious way, at the moment I don’t know what will our sponsors say to that. We have to think things over. As an ASO representative I agree with the organisers. Although I couldn’t say anything to the press, I have to say that they informed me about the current situation very clearly in the past days. I think, this is a risk that cannot be taken. As for the possible start of the Dakar in Hungary in 2010 we will have a meeting this afternoon."

István Újhelyi (Hungarian under-secretary for sport): "This is shocking. And not only for the Dakar itself: what happened here today will determine the world politics as well. It’s a great question that what will happen in the next years, and for that, the start of the Dakar in Hungary in 2010, for which we were struggling for years, is only one little part."

Syndiely Wade: "I am very disappointed for two reasons. First, I am a competitor and we invested so much in this rally in terms of both money and time. Vanina and me we did everything on our own, we bought the car, we tried to find sponsors – and now they call me and I have to explane to them, what happened. And as being Senegalese, this rally got its name from the capital city of my country and there everyone was waiting for the rally, too. But if the authorities say that it is not safe to run the rally, we all have to accept it. I know, that it was a terribly hard decision for the organisers, too. In Africa, we say don’t tempt the fate."

2008/01/04 | 15:44 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Rita Konya

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