Dakar

Americo Aliaga dies at 45

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Credit: Frederic Le Floc'h/DPPI

Américo Aliaga, who had been involved in rally raid for nearly two decades including doing the Dakar Rally as a co-driver, died Friday morning at the age of 45 from illness. He was hospitalised after undergoing surgery three months prior.

Aliaga raced the Dakar Rally four times between 2009 and 2019, when the race ran through the Chilean’s home continent. His début came behind a Toyota Land Cruiser as the navigator for Jorge Latrach. He returned in 2013 in a Chevrolet Trophy Truck, which are typically used for SCORE International desert races but rarely in FIA-sanctioned events like the Dakar, alongside Victor Mastromatteo. When two-time Dakar Quad winner Ignacio Casale made the switch to a side-by-side, Aligaga served as his partner for his maiden Dakar in the class in 2019.

Although the Dakar left South America after 2019, he made his return to the race in Saudi Arabia in 2022. Aliaga was the co-driver of a Can-Am Maverick piloted by Lucas Del Rio, a newcomer to the race, and they finished thirty-sixth overall in the T4 (now SSV) category.

Back home, Aliaga was a multi-time domestic champion who notched four titles across his first decade of racing. Ahead of the 2024 season, he was named general manager for the Chilean Cross-Country Rally Championship. The series’ ongoing race in Copiapó paid tribute to Aliaga with a ceremonial procession to end the stage.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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