SANTIAGO (AFP) — Chile on Wednesday said it was willing to host the 2008 Dakar Rally that was cancelled due to security concerns, and would soon write the Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) making its offer, a government official said.
"We've taken up the concerns of the federations (of auto and motorcycle racing) and our intent is to satisfy their needs," said Undersecretary of Sports Jaime Pizarro.
"Most important is what the French organization (ASO) decides. We're preparing a letter laying out our official proposal," said National Tourist Service director Oscar Santelices.
He said Chile had the required conditions of stability, infrastructure and geography to hold the Dakar Rally, but did not rule out including neighboring Argentina in the enterprise.
Santelices said Argentina had already sent representatives to France offering their territory for the cancelled rally, but that it did not pose any impediment to a joint venture.
"Deciding where (the rally) starts and where it finishes is the ASO's task. But first we have to bring it to South America," he added.
The 2008 Dakar Rally had been due to start on Saturday in Lisbon, but the murder of four French tourists in Mauritania on December 24 led to the French government advising against any travel to the country and race organisers cancelling the 30th edition of the event.
Eight of the rally's stages were due to pass through the Mauritania en route south for Dakar and the scheduled finish on January 20.
It was the first time the rally had been cancelled since its creation in 1979.
Dakar Rally organisers are also considering a race through central Europe this spring to replace the marathon race, the head of the Czech KM Racing Team, Pavel Kubicek, told AFP in Prague on Monday.
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