Dakar - What is Dakar?


The 40th Dakar Rally is promising to be a hugely challenging event, the toughest to take place in South America since 2009. Kicking off on January 6 in Lima, Peru, the 2018 edition of the prestigious annual race will host a total of more than 400 competitors coming from over 50 different nationalities. With hundreds of motorcycles, dozens of quads and a host of UTV vehicles entering the 2018 event, racers will set off for a two-week-long adventure of over 8,000km in the heart of South America. 

Starting from the Lima in Peru, which is located at sea level, competitors will set out for a whole week of racing in the high altitudes of Bolivia, before entering the warm temperatures of the Argentinean plains. In a more compact format for 2018, the race features 14 long stages that will take competitors all the way to the finish line in Córdoba. 

The history of the Dakar Rally
The Dakar Rally is considered one of the toughest off-road rally races in the world. The idea for the rally came from rider Thierry Sabine in 1977 when he got lost in the Libyan Desert while taking part in the Abidjan-Nice Rally. 

Inspired by his serendipitous journey, he promised himself that he would lead a voyage for others into the dunes, to ride and enjoy the dreamlike landscapes he had experienced. Sabine designed a route starting in Europe, continuing to Algiers and crossing Agadez before eventually finishing in Dakar. Over the course of almost forty years the rally has never failed to challenge, surprise and excite, generating innumerable sporting and human stories. 

The first rally set off on December 26th, 1978, as 182 vehicles took the start from the Place du Trocadéro, Paris, France for a 10,000-kilometre journey into the unknown. With 74 adventurers making it to Dakar, Yamaha XT500 mounted Frenchman Cyril Neveu was the overall fastest rider, getting a historic first win for Yamaha in the prestigious rally.

Since that first victory, Yamaha has gone on to write a significant chapter in the Dakar Rally’s history with Stéphane Peterhansel. The talented Frenchman claimed an incredible record of six Dakar titles in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1998 aboard a Yamaha motorcycle before switching to four wheels, in the car category. To this date no rider has matched Stéphane Peterhansel's record number of wins. 

In 2008 the rally had to be cancelled due to safety concerns. In 2009, the rally left Africa and found its new home in Latin America, where a loyal public welcomed the event with open arms and followed the riders with great enthusiasm. The transition proved a successful one as the Dakar Rally has remained on the continent ever since. 

Race Schedule – Dakar Rally 2018
Stage 1 | Jan 6 | Lima to Pisco
Stage 2 | Jan 7 | Pisco to Pisco
Stage 3 | Jan 8 | Pisco to San Juan de Marcona
Stage 4 | Jan 8 | San Juan de Marcona to San Juan de Marcona
Stage 5 | Jan 10 | San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa
Stage 6 | Jan 11 | Arequipa to La Paz
Stage 7 | Jan 13 | La Paz to Uyuni
Stage 8 | Jan 14 | Uyuni to Tupiza
Stage 9 | Jan 15 | Tupiza to Salta
Stage 10 | Jan 16 | Salta to Belén
Stage 11 | Jan 17 | Belén to Chilecito
Stage 12 | Jan 18 | Chilecito to San Juan
Stage 13 | Jan 19 | San Juan to Córdoba
Stage 14 | Jan 20 | Córdoba to Córdoba