AR Frenchman Hubert Auriol announces new Africa RaceŽ

Press information
For immediate release
Monday, 21st July 2008 - embargoed until 11.00hrs


France-Morocco-Mauritania-Senegal:  26th December 2008 - 11th January 2009


BIRMINGHAM (England): The first edition of AFRICA RACE® was officially announced at a press conference and reception at the Sports Café in Birmingham today (Monday).

The new African challenge has been created by Frenchman Hubert Auriol, a three-time winner of the Paris-Dakar Rally, and will take place from December 26th, 2008 to January 11th, 2009.

The new event has received support from the relevant federations and partnerships from various African authorities and will retrace some of the classic routes of traditional rally-raid events.

The event is open to motorbikes, quads, cars and trucks and will start in the southern French city of Marseilles and finish in Dakar - the capital of Sénégal - after crossing several thousand kilometres in Morocco and the vast sandy wastelands of Mauritania. A rest day is planned at the historic desert town of Chinguetti.

"I am impassioned by Africa," admits Auriol. "I was born there. I have experienced many emotional events there and reliving an adventure that helps to consolidate the link between Europe and Africa is a project that is close to my heart."

The new Africa Race was devised on the back of the news of the cancellation of Dakar 2008, which created a large void for the African nations and motor sport competitors keen to take part in an event across some of the remotest terrain on the planet.

"I've had the good fortune to have experienced 30 years of outstanding adventures in Africa," adds Auriol. "Answering the request of the African countries to organise Africa Race® is an opportunity for me to give back to them what Africa has given to me." 

Africa Race® will benefit from easily manageable stages, controlled costs, bivouacs and the full co-operation of the relevant African countries.

There will be three motorbike and quad classes - a 450cc class for machinery up to 450cc, an open class for bikes over 450cc and a section for quads.
Cars complying with T1 and T2 FIA regulations will have their own classes, but there will also be a T4 section for cross-country trucks, a new category for Africa Race Raid and Classic, an Open group and an Experimental group.

Africa Race® is also putting together a production team with the technical and logistical elements worthy of a large international sporting event. Thirty people will follow the race and two helicopters will be at their disposal, as well as editing facilities for the production of images and reports for broadcast use.

Africa Race is building a partnership with the editorial boards of TF1, LCI, TMC and Eurosport and officials are also in discussions with the Lagardère Group through its subsidiary company, Sportsfive, the European leader in the management of sports audiovisual rights.

For further information:
Clive Dredge, Africa Race 2009, UK liaison officer, Desert Rose Racing, Maylea, Ridgeway Close, Heathfield, East Sussex, TN21 8NS, Mobile 07803 623573, E-mail: clive@teamdesertrose.com


Date issued: 21/07/2008

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