|Bolivia's President Evo Morales (Front) rides a motorbike while greeting the drivers after the 8th stage of the Rally Dakar 2014, in route towards Chile, in Uyuni, Bolivia, Jan. 13, 2014. (Xinhua/Reynaldo Zaconeta/ABI)
LA PAZ, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Bolivia's President Evo Morales said Monday he has already met twice with the Dakar Rally organizers, the Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), in a bid to host the race again in 2015.
"We still have meetings pending with the ASO and we hope it goes well for us," said Morales, adding his nation has benefited from the increased tourism and a higher international profile.
"If things go well, however, it won't be due to Evo or Alvaro ( Garcia, his vice president), or the government, but thanks to the participation of the people, who have been so united and above all welcoming," Morales told reporters at a press conference in La Paz.
Bolivia hosted a portion of the race Sunday and Monday, with two of the four vehicle divisions, motorcycles and quads, racing through the country's picturesque desert saltflats.
Next year, said Morales, Bolivia hope to host the rally again, and this time including the car and truck races.
Morales, accompanied by Garcia, cabinet ministers and local authorities, met with the competitors in Uyuni Sunday and again on Monday, as they readied to continue the race to Chile.
Morales met with ASO executives later Monday.
ASO's French-born director Etienne Lavigne praised Bolivia at a press conference Sunday for organizing a highly successful stage in the competition.
The Bolivian portion "has really been a spectacular success in the 2014 edition, but spectacular in the history of the past 36 Dakars," said Lavigne.