Originaly, the Dakar Rally was known as the Paris-Dakar Rally, and the race covered a course from Paris, France to Dakar, Senegal. In 2008 it was cancelled, due to an Al-Qaeda terrorist attack in Mauritania. It's a good reason, if ever we've heard one. Starting in 2009, the series has been held in South America.
Omar Osama Bin Laden, the son of the infamous Al-Qaeda chief, did propose a 3,000 mile horse race to replace the Dakar Rally and benefit a charity that helped children affected by war, citing the fact that he did not think that his father's organization would target him. This never materialized, however, and Senegal now wants the real race back. The Senegalese Minister of Tourism and Culture, Youssou N'Dour, says that the country has seen a large drop in tourism since the race moved, and he doesn't think it's fair for the race presenters to keep profiting from the use of capitol's name.
Etienne Lavigne, the Dakar Rally director, says that a return to Africa is still too complicated, due to security concerns, and that the name has been trademarked for many years. "Yves Saint Laurent makes a perfume called Paris and the city's government has never asked it to pay royalties." Senegal is considering taking the matter to court.
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[via Left Lane News]