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One amateur Auto and Moto entrant will have additional reason to celebrate after crossing the Finish Line in the 2013 Australasian Safari, having gained free entry into Dakar 2014 through the Dakar Challenge.

Australasian Safari event director Justin Hunt said this was a special honour, because only four off-road events worldwide are chosen to host the Dakar Challenge.

“We’ve known for some years now that the Australasian Safari is our region’s toughest off-road motorsport event and provides a testing ground for those who aspire to compete in Dakar,” said Mr Hunt.

“The renewal of this agreement gives the Australasian Safari international recognition and further credibility as a premier off-road motorsport event in the Asia-Pacific region.”

“We look forward to once again giving amateur off-road competitors a chance to realise their dream to race in Dakar.”

Xavier Gavory from Dakar organising body ASO said he was delighted to take the Dakar Challenge experience in Australia to the next level.

“What we’ve found here is the real spirit of cross county racing with sportsmanship, a tough route, wild territories and breathtaking scenery,” said Mr Gavory.

“With two rewards on offer, the spirit of competition will be even higher between contenders of the Challenge.”

“Having the Challenge at Safari will bring enthusiasm, passion, and the Dakar fever throughout Australia and the Asia Pacific region.”

Last year, only those competing in Safari’s MOTO category were eligible for the Dakar Challenge. For 2013, amateur AUTO competitors will also have their shot at a free Dakar entry.

Other events chosen to form the Dakar Challenge calendar are: Tecate Score Baja 500 in Mexico, Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina, Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race in Botswana and Reno 500 in USA.

A condition of entry into the Dakar Challenge is that entrants must never have participated in the Dakar, nor have finished in the top ten of an FIM all terrain rally.

The Australasian Safari, from 19 to 27th September 2013 is an eight-day endurance race that sees competitors travel mainly off-road tracks through the outback of Western Australia. The event is known as one of the toughest and most challenging motorsport events in the world. This year’s course will be approximately 3500km through the Mid-West of Western Australia.

The Dakar is a rally raid style off-road endurance race travelling through South America. The route for the 2014 Dakar is yet to be released.
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