Stage 9 of the Dakar Rally between Salta and Chilecito was cancelled late last night due to landslides caused by heavy thunderstorms at the drought-stricken border of Bolivia and Argentina.
It is latest stage to be impacted by severe weather during the famous annual rally raid, which this year is coursing its way over 5,456 miles through South America. Stage 6 was already cancelled, while Stages 5 and 8 were cut short and Stage 7 significantly rerouted.
A landslide at the town of Volcan prevented some of the race’s competitors from reaching Salta – the starting place of Stage 9 – and was the reason for the cancellation, organisers confirmed.
Two reported dead
More seriously, at least two people have been confirmed dead as a result of the landslide, local newspapers are reporting.
“According to the Argentinian civil security, victims are deplored in the population and considerable damage has been observed,” the organisers announced in a statement.
“The organisation offered its sanitary facilities to reinforce the local safety support on site. As the road is cut off, most of the vehicles, competitors, assistance and logistics from the Dakar caravan were diverted on an alternative route through San Antonio de los Cobres, extending the distance of the liaison by about 200 km.”
“The day will be devoted to regroup the race caravan in Chilecito to continue the event by giving the start on the 12th of January of stage 10, between CHILECITO and SAN JUAN.”