What is the Dakar Rally?

01. The Most Severe and Magnificent Event in the World

The Dakar Rally is the most severe motorsport and the most famous rally raid in the world, unfolding on undeveloped terrain, such as deserts, mountain passes, etc.

To compete in the grueling race, covering a total distance of 8,000 km, all around ability is tested, such as the vehicle performance, driving techniques, navigation ability, part supply systems, vehicle repair ability, mental strength, physical strength and experience. The "Paris-Dakar Rally" which started in 1979 is the origin of the Dakar Rally. Originally, the drivers competed on a route which started in Paris on January 1st, and took about 3 weeks to race through the desert areas of Africa, aiming for Dakar on the west coast of Africa.

Since the political conditions of the transit countries of Africa deteriorated one after another and several changes had to be made, the course was eventually changed to the South American Continent in 2009, to be able to continue the rally. The Dakar Rally is different than the World Rally Championship (WRC) because amateurs can participate along with professionals, using various types of vehicles.

02 . Various Participating Vehicles

A unique motorsport competition, where various racing vehicles enter, such as automobiles, trucks and motorcycles

The rally is largely divided into four categories; the "MOTO (2-wheeled vehicles/motorcycles)", "Quads (4-wheeled buggies, etc.)", "Auto (4-wheeled vehicles)" and "Camion (trucks)". The rally is also divided into production class (non-converted commercial vehicle) or super production class (converted commercial vehicles and racing vehicles) depending on the existence of modifications. The drivers not only compete for the overall ranking, but also compete for the ranking of each category and class.

Toyota vehicles have mainly participated in the production class (non-converted commercial vehicle class) untill now, and have demonstrated solid reliability.Many Toyota vehicles have been selected as the base vehicle of the super production class (converted commercial vehicles and racing vehicles), and have been successful in the Dakar Rally.In 2012, among the total of 161 vehicles, 46 were Toyota vehicles.

<2012 Dakar Rally Categories and Class Divisions>

Category Group (Division) Class No. of Entries
(2-wheeled vehicles/motorcycles)
(Non-converted commercial vehicles)
Super Production
(Converted commercial vehicles and racing vehicles)
(4-wheeled vehicles)
(Non-converted commercial vehicles)
Gasoline 161
Super Production
(Converted commercial vehicles and racing vehicles)
Quads [Experimental] (Sidecars, 3-wheeled & 4-wheeled ATV, etc.) 30
Camion (Trucks) 74

03 . How difficult it is it to actually complete the race ?

The most severe autocross in the world, as the average completion rate is below 50%, once even with only 20% completion rate, being the lowest ever

The Dakar Rally is a competition taking place across an approximate 8,000 km course over several weeks, which is so difficult to complete, that "All drivers who complete the race are winners".

< Example: 34th Dakar Rally 2012 Mar del Plata to Lima >

Reference: 46.6% completion rate in the 33th Dakar Rally 2011 Buenos Aires to Buenos Aires.