Dakar Rally runs into angry detractors in Chile

As the Dakar Rally snakes its way across South American deserts, activists in Chile are denouncing the negative impact of the world’s most famous off-road vehicle race on precious archaeological sites.

The race has seen its share of controversy ever since it was launched in France 35 years ago, and its shift from European and African terrain to a South American backdrop in 2009 has only created new disputes.

Critics deplore the heavy carbon emissions of the competing 4×4 cars and motorbikes, as well as the damage caused to flora, wildlife and archaeological sites in the regions crossed by the Dakar Rally.

Recently, as fans gathered to see the race rumble through Argentina’s barren northwest, one prestigious Chilean archaeology group saw its complaint against the Dakar dismissed by the country’s Supreme Court in Santiago.

It was the only legal challenge before the courts in Chile, where the motor race is scheduled to finish on January 18, but the row between the competition’s organisers, local authorities and angry activists looks set to drag on.

Source | AFP