January 12, 2009 We once dubbed it the world’s most dangerous legally-sanctioned sporting event, but the three decade history of the Dakar Rally almost certainly makes it one of the most influential and relevant sporting events to a large proportion of the world - it already had the second highest TV viewing audience of any sporting event other than the FIFA World Cup before it changed continents this week. On the weekend Chile became the 26th country in which it has been staged and from the massive following the race has developed already in South America, it won’t be the last. Since it began in 1979, the Dakar Rally has run through Senegal, Mali, France, Mauritania , Nigeria, Morocco, Spain, Algeria , Burkina Faso, Libya, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Egypt, Chad, Portugal, South Africa, Angola, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Namibia, Rep. Centrafricaine , Sierra Leone and Argentina became the 25th country on January 3. Volkswagen Touaregs swept through Chile in 1-2-3 formation at the head of the field, while KTM did likewise in the bikes – no doubt enhancing their brand names massively in a populous and rapidly developing continent.
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