January 04, 2019
In 1977, French motorcycle racer, Thierry Sabine, got lost in the Libyan desert during the Abidjan-Nice Rally. After returning to France, Sabine became inspired by the challenge and adventure of racing through the deserts of Africa. He created the ultimate overland expedition, and the world-famous Dakar Rally began in 1978.
Sabine described the race as "a challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind."
The 2019 course make the most of the open Peruvian desert by featuring 2 mass starts -- one at stage 5 then for stage 9. This year's overland expedition will also offer a "second chance" to racers who get bumped out within the first part of the rally will be allowed to rejoin the race (in a parallel competition) after the rest day.
The rally is described as one of the most dangerous endurance events in the global sporting community. During its 40 years, the race has claimed 70 lives of competitors and spectators alike. With the inherent risk of the race, 9,000 police officers and national security forces will be utilized to keep spectators and competitors safe.
Due to the remoteness and nature of the overland expedition, the organizers utilize a 35-person team to monitor all vehicles 24/7. Each vehicle is equipped with sophisticated satellite tracking beacons. Race organizers also host a 60-person medical team equipped with helicopters, a field hospital, and vehicles equipped for medical treatments on the course.
Any non-compliance with race or local regulations will be met with penalties, disqualification, or fines.
To accommodate the 4 million spectators, the rally has 30 secure spectator areas. These viewing zones are protected and supervised to ensure spectators can watch the race safely. Leading up to the event, race organizers and the Peruvian Automobile Club will launch a massive media campaign to educate the public and share safety tips.