The organisers of the 2008 Dakar, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), today confirmed at a press conference in Lisbon that the decision had been taken to cancel this year’s rally which was due to start from the Portuguese capital tomorrow morning, Saturday 5th January.
The Rally was going to be the first chance for Mitsubishi to demonstrate the Outlander’s remarkable of off-road capabilities in a support vehicle role. It would also have been Mitsubishi’s chance to successfully defend it’s current title with the Multi-Dakar winning Pajero Evolution before it moves to its high performance diesel range in the 2009 event.
An official statement issued by ASO stated that, "After different exchanges with the French government – in particular the Ministry for Foreign Affairs – and based on their firm recommendations, the organisers of the Dakar have taken the decision to cancel the 2008 edition of the rally."
The statement referred to "direct threats launched directly against the race", saying that "no other decision but the cancellation of the sporting event could be taken by ASO." "ASO’s first responsibility," it continued, "is to guarantee the safety of all: that of the populations in the countries visited, of the amateur and professional competitors, of the technical assistance personnel, of the journalists, partners and rally collaborators. ASO therefore reaffirms that the choice of security is not, has never been and will never be a subject of compromise at the heart of the Dakar rally."
Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart’s Team Director, Dominique Serieys, speaking on behalf of the team and its primary sponsors and partners, said that "The Team, Valeo, BF Goodrich and all its partners fully respect the decision announced today by ASO. It goes without saying that it is a huge shame that the 30th edition of the Dakar will not take place.