Petersen Motorsport team owner/driver Michael Petersen has said he fully supports the decision to cancel the 2008 running of the Dakar Rally on safety grounds.

The event was cancelled by the organisers ASO little more than a day before it was due to get underway in Lisbon following 'direct threats launched directly against the race by terrorist organisations' and following the death of four French tourists in the Mauritania region around Christmas.

Although understandably disappointed to see the event - which would have been the second for the American squad best known for its commitments in the American Le Mans Series - Petersen admitted that he would rather pack up and head for home than see any members of his team put at risk.

"As competitors we have not been made aware of the specific threats to the rally but nothing is more important than the safety of the guys on the team," he said. "If the ASO decided that it was too dangerous to hold the race this year, then we know it must be the case.

"That doesn't help ease the disappointment or frustration. We are disappointed for the fans and supporters and our corporate partners. Everyone worked so hard to put this together. We overcame a lot of challenges to be here. We were scheduled to go through tech today and do the first stage tomorrow. We were all excited and all ready to go. It was a shock to wake up to this. Right now, we are all still trying to digest everything that has happened here but safety is always the most important thing.

"The guys that make up this team are my friends. I have known some of them for over ten years. I share their disappointment but I'd rather see them disappointed that put in harms way."



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