Chile is pulling out of the 2016 Dakar Rally, citing flash floods that have hit the northern, desert region of the South American country.
The Chilean sports ministry said Wednesday it would not spend about $7 million to host legs of the three-week rally, with the money being better used for rebuilding areas devastated by the flooding.
Sports minister Natalia Riffo said the decision was taken after consulting with Dakar Rally organizers. She said the “door was open” to rejoining the rally in 2017.“One adapts to the reality of our citizens in the north,” Riffo said.
“Therefore, our immediate concern is to rebuilt the affected areas and channel the resources to people who need them.”
The government says it will spend about $1.5 billion on rebuilding the area.
The rally this January covered legs in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. It was not immediately clear how the rally would be re-routed next year to skip Chile.
The rally has been run in South America since 2009, moving from Africa because of security problems.