The Dakar Rally is known as a competition which uses desert areas mainly, and has been held primarily in the desert areas of Western Africa. The battle field was moved to South America due to geopolitical reasons in 2009, however, the nature of the rally has not changed. Also in the new place, the major battle fields are the vast earth having no signposts and inaccessible marginal desert areas.
In general, any The rallies competing on off-roads (or the places that have no roads) including the Dakar Rally, are called the “cross-country rally” to distinguish from the rallies held on the public roads. So, one of the characteristics of the former is that the competition vehicles are not the sedan-based ones commonly seen in normal rallies but the cross-country ones capable of crossing the goal line after running on tough off-roads. Although most of the competition vehicles participating in the Dakar Rally are classified into the division of customized vehicles, which were dynamically altered specially for competition, TLC has continued to enter in the “series production vehicles group,” to which only minimal customization is allowed.
The Dakar Rally examines people and vehicles on ultimate durability. As long as a competition, it is needless to say that vehicles require speed. However, it is more important that the machines have an ability to accomplish the race by overcoming hard-to-drive terrains and a reliability to bear the tough use condition for a long term.
It is impossible to win the victory without reaching the goal steadily day after day. All the members of drivers, navigators, mechanics, and support crew tackle the trials given by the wildness, and aim at “achieving the goal” heart and soul. This is the Dakar Rally.
They say that the Dakar Rally is one of the world’s toughest motor sports. The stage of this competition is the off-roads on which finishing the race itself is extremely difficult, and the travel distance of the race sometimes reaches almost 1000 km a day. In the middle of a wildness which is out of the auspices of the civilization, the competitors must address this challenge day after day.
Why is this out-of-the-common challenge so attractive? When the Dakar Rally was first held in 1979, the founder, Terry Sabine, said during the introduction of the race, “What I can is to point at the door to an adventure.” Yes, this is not a motor sport but an adventure, and this is something that made the Dakar Rally something special.
Human beings sought adventures on instinct, and this was the driving force to build up our civilizations from the earliest times. It is a mechanism of evolution incorporated in DNA that human beings head toward unknown horizon without conscious. It is a human beings’ activity to continue to challenge endlessly on their inborn survival instinct. It is exactly because the rally is a reduced figure of such an activity that people get excited at the Dakar Rally.