PORTUGAL WILL host the next Dakar Rally in 2006, it was confirmed by Lisbon Câmara last week.
It will be the first time that Portugal is hosting the world-famous, international rally. There had been strong competition from both Barcelona and Milan to provide the starting point for the car and truck race next year, but Portugal has won the bid.
Carlos Sousa, nine-time participant in the rally, believes it is wonderful international publicity for Portugal. “Dakar is a challenge that attracts media attention from all over the world and it will bring Portugal, and Lisbon, a lot of coverage that no publicity campaign could ever bring,” he said. “It also means that there is every likelihood that there will be a record number of Portuguese drivers enrolling in the Dakar Rally.”
The 28th Dakar will cross the Mediterranean and head for Dakar via Morocco, Mauritania, Mali and Guinea, before finally reaching Senegal.
Dakar director, Étienne Lavigne, said that Portugal, with its racing and rally tradition, would continue the Dakar’s Iberian flavour, following on from Spain that had been four-time hosts. C.G.