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ORGANIZERS SHIFT RALLY TO S. AMERICA

The famed Dakar Rally will shift continents next year.

Argentina and Chile will host the 2009 edition of the event, which was canceled this year because of fears of terrorism in Africa.

The race will start Jan.3 in Buenos Aires and finish Jan.18 in the Argentine capital, organizers said Monday.

This year marked the first time that the 30-year-old rally, one of the biggest competitions in racing, was called off. The threat of terrorist attacks pushed the element of risk to levels organizers deemed unacceptable.

About 550 competitors had been scheduled for a 16-day, 5,760-mile trek through remote and hostile dunes and scrub from Portugal to Dakar, Senegal.

The race, once known as Paris-Dakar, was canceled after warnings from the French government about safety after the al-Qaida-linked slaying of a family of French tourists Dec.24 in Mauritania. Eight of the competition's 15 stages were to be held there.

Race director Etienne Lavigne said the race will return to Africa when it can.

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