La Paz, April 30 (IANS) Bolivian President Evo Morales has confirmed that the Dakar Rally 2017 international competition will pass through the South American country’s western departments of La Paz, Oruro and Potosi.
“It is official that the Dakar Rally 2017, with its four categories, will pass through Bolivia for the fourth consecutive time and it will pass through unexplored landscapes in the country’s western departments. It will be another year to integrate ourselves onto the world’s stage,” the president said during an event held in a centrally-located hotel in the capital city of La Paz on Friday, reports Xinhua.
According to Morales, in this edition of the international competition, at least 1,000 motorized vehicles will pass through Bolivia, including cars, motorbikes, quad bikes and vans. The drivers will come from over 60 countries within the world’s five continents, added the president.
“Now we are not pursuing the ASO (Amaury Sport Organization – Dakar organizers), the ASO are pursuing us to stage the Dakar Rally,”Morales said.
The president also highlighted that in the last edition of the competition in Bolivia, the drivers showed their appreciation for the security, support and affection shown to them by Bolivians.
Next year’s competition already has an official route. The race will leave from Paraguay’s capital city of Asuncion on January 2 and from there it will pass through Argentina, Bolivia and then Argentina once again. After completing the 12 stages, the race will end on January 14 in Buenos Aires.
The Dakar Rally 2017 will go through the Bolivian region of La Paz where there will be a rest day. A part of the circuit will go through routes that are close to Lake Titicaca. Four out of the race’s 12 stages will take place on Bolivian soil.
Paraguay will receive the race for the first time and it will be the fifth country in South America that Dakar has visited.
Morales said that his government did not make a mistake by pursuing the idea of staging the Dakar Rally and that the race had generated a multiplying effect in terms of tourism in the South American country.
In the last edition, $105 million were generated in economic turnover and Bolivia saw over a million people move around the race areas.