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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.

Dakar 2009: Hungarians hope for Dakar Start in Budapest 2009

Balázs Szalay, the team leader of the Szalay Dakar team and the representative of the Eastern - European A.S.O. reported on the events of the permanently cancelled 2008 Dakar rally on an extraordinary press conference held today at 13 o` clock in Champs Sport Pub, Budapest.

He started his report with a declaration: "I declare in the name of every Hungarian competitor, László Palik, Sándor Kis, László Liszi, Ákos Varga, Péter Szilvási and I, that we do not intend to participate in the Budapest - Bamako tour, because we do not think of this event as a rally, as it is only a tour. We also expect that the Dakar rally will not be confused with the Bamako tour, because the two events cannot be compared."

He said that very well founded reasons led to the final decision of the A.S.O. to come to the conclusion of canceling this year’s act of the Lisbon - Dakar Rally. The assurance of the Mauritanian stages became questionable, as they were called upon by the French government on 3 January not to organize the race due to terrorist threats. After the announcement the tournament could have been only held if the organizers’ take full moral and financial responsibility for the rally, the participants and the assistance teams. Obviously, this would have been quite a big risk to take, therefore, had no other choice only to decide on not setting off the race, knowing that this resolution causes millions of Euro loss for the A.S.O. itself.

Last Friday in Lisbon under-secretary of State dr. István Újhelyi had a meeting with the organizers about the possibility of the Budapest - Dakar rally taking place in 2009. Originally, the Dakar would set off from Lisbon according to a previously made contract, though the situation does not change and the safety of the tournament cannot be assured, other countries may have a chance and the start from Budapest could also become reality. The under-secretary of State added that `only a pre-contract was singed which does not have any obligation on us and Hungary will undertake the event solely after the conditions of the race is secured and threats only concern the mentioned countries`. The Budapest start of the Dakar in 2010 has to be signed by 15 March to make it final.

The Lisbon start of next year’s Dakar was also mentioned alternatively with the possibility of Tunesia, Libia, and Egypt being the participating countries. These places were marked safe by the organizers and the French government cannot interfere in the decision-making process insomuch as in Mauritanian terrains.

The A.S.O. would like to compensate the competitors for the disappointment, therefore, they are planning to organize a mid-year desert and a European race and invite all the participants of the Dakar rally. The second race would be realized as an Eastern-European tournament which could be very prosperous for Hungary as it would involve 550 participants.

`The Szalay Dakar team, just like the other teams, is in an awkward situation, after all we prepared for the Dakar and our aim was to complete the stages and to achieve the best position possible. We had a very good chance for this, because we prepared with the best technique and background so far, we had outstanding professional support and great mechanics of GM. We would also like to compensate our sponsors, so we will participate on the most competitions possible this year, certainly on the two championships organized by A.S.O. as it is our aim too to make up the lost race-days` said Balázs Szalay.

2008/01/10 | 01:28 CET | Editor: MR/HS/

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