LIMA – The organizers of the Dakar Rally have not contacted the Peruvian government to negotiate holding the race in the Andean nation for its 2020 edition, Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Edgar Vasquez said on Thursday.
“Regarding whether the Dakar will come back to South America, I have to be very clear and direct, I have not received any request for negotiations,” Vasquez said during a conference with the Foreign Press Association in Peru (APEP).
Although Dakar director Etienne Lavigne said at the close of the Dakar 2019 that they would ask South American countries about their willingness to continue hosting the race before thinking about returning it to Africa, these contacts have apparently not being pursued – at least not in Peru, which hosted the most recent edition of the race.
During that same period, however, a possible agreement with Saudi Arabia was leaked on social media by Saudi drivers Mohammed Al Twaijri and Yazeed Al Rajhi, but it has not yet been confirmed by the Amaury Sports Organization (ASO), the French company that owns the Dakar.
Vasquez said that the Dakar 2019, which for the first time in its history was held entirely in a single country, was a “real success” for Peru.
“It has generated an economic flow in excess of $60 million. If we add the impact it had with the media, with more than 70 media outlets at the race, we got the juice out of this 100-percent Peruvian Dakar. It was a very successful activity,” Vasquez said.
The minister emphasized the scheduling of the Peru Mucho Gusto gastronomy fair in the southern region of Moquegua – where two stages of the Dakar were held – which attracted more than 37,000 people over course of three days.
“It has been the most successful Peru Mucho Gusto edition of all those we have had in different parts of the country, with a significant flow of foreign visitors, especially Chileans and Bolivians,” said Vasquez.
The 100-percent Peruvian Dakar was held this year after the refusal of other countries in the region – including Argentina, Bolivia and Chile – to continue hosting the rally for economic reasons since the fees that the South American countries paid to the organization ranged from $4 million to $6 million.