Dakar Rally

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The Dakar Series (or simply "The Dakar"; formerly known as "The Paris-Dakar" or "Paris to Dakar Rally") is an annual rally raid type of off-road automobile race, organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation. Most events since the inception in 1978 were from Paris, France to Dakar, Senegal, but due to security threats in Mauritania in 2008, the 2009 Dakar Rally was run in South America (Argentina and Chile), the first time the race took place outside of Europe and Africa.[1] It has stayed in South America from 2009 to Present (2011)[2][3] The race is open to amateur and professional entries. Amateurs typically make up about eighty percent of the participants.

Despite its name it is an off-road endurance race, called a rally-raid rather than a conventional rally — the terrain the competitors traverse is much tougher and the vehicles used are true off-road vehicles rather than the modified on-road vehicles used in rallies. Most of the competitive special sections are off-road, crossing dunes, mud, camel grass, rocks and erg among others. The distances of each stage covered vary from short distances up to 800–900 kilometres (500–560 mi) per day.

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History and route

The race originated in 1978, a year after racer Thierry Sabine got lost in the desert and decided that it would be a good location for a regular rally. Originally, the rally was from Paris, France to Dakar, Senegal, interrupted by a transfer across the Mediterranean. However, due to politics and other factors, the course, including origin and destination, has varied over the years. Dakar has been the destination city on all but four occasions during the period the rally was held in Africa (i.e. not including 2009 onwards). The rally began at Paris each year until 1995. In 1994 the rally both began and ended in Paris, but due to complaints by the mayor, the finish had to be moved from the Champs-Élysées to Euro Disney. This also caused the organisation to lay out the rally through different locations in following years.

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