The fate of the 2019 Dakar Rally appears to be hanging in the balance, with sole host country Peru reportedly threatening to pull out over financial concerns.
Last month, Dakar organiser ASO announced a 2019 route taking place entirely inside Peru following Bolivia’s withdrawal and Chile dropping out of a planned return at the last minute.
It has emerged the agreement made between ASO and the Peruvian government is merely a preliminary document, with a final agreement needing to be made no later than June 30.
Several media outlets in Peru have now reported that the country is considering pulling out because the government’s “preliminary economic analysis” of hosting the Dakar is negative.
It is understood Peru would have to pay around $6million (£4.6m) to ASO as a hosting fee, in addition to other expenses in infrastructure, security and logistics worth up to $25m (£19.1m).
The economic return that Peru received for hosting the first five stages of this year’s event is estimated to be around $40.5m (£30.9m).
A final decision is set to be communicated on Thursday at 7pm local time.
President of the Council of Ministers Cesar Villaneuva said: “It is obvious that [the Dakar] attracts the eyes [of the world] towards Peru and we are in a good economic moment and this would be a showcase to promote our country.
“We want to make all possible efforts to make the Dakar 2019, but it will be determined in the coming hours.”
The ASO refused to comment on the situation when contacted by Autosport, but it has already commenced preparations on the road book.