Rally: Dakar returns to South America in 2011

PARIS, April 29, 2010 (AFP) - The Dakar rally will return to South America for the third consecutive year in 2011 rather than returning to Africa, organisers confirmed on Thursday.

Both options were under consideration but ultimately the success of the last two editions of one of motorsport's most gruelling tests in Argentina and Chile prevailed.

"In geopolitical terms Africa hasn't made positive progress," claimed Dakar boss Etienne Lavigne.

"Each time we look at returning to Africa we come up against complications," he added.

The Dakar was staged in Africa from 1979 to 2007 but switched continents after the 2008 rally was called off on the eve of the race due to security issues.

The 2011 Dakar will run from January 1-16.

This year's race attracted over four million spectators with Argentina reporting the event had generated 126.3 million euros in revenue.

Chile has confirmed its readiness to act as co-host again despite February's devastating earthquake and tsunami which left 452 people dead and almost 100 missing.

The 2011 Dakar will once again start and finish in Buenos Aires, with a route to the extreme north of both Argentina and Chile.

"We'll be touching the borders with Bolivia and Peru," Lavigne said.

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