Dakar rally lowdown

The Dakar rally’s on at the moment. Here’s what you need to know about the race

Originally the Paris-Dakar Rally, this is the second year on the trot it avoids Africa (due to terrorist threats). An endurance test run over 17 days and 5500 miles, there are different classes for cars, trucks, motorbikes and quad-bikes.  RouteThe route is a loop, beginning and ending in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The course also takes in a large part of Chile, including the brutal Atacama desert.  The race comprises 14 legs, with one rest day in the middle of the action. Just like its rallying cousin, each leg consists of road sections interspersed with timed ‘special stages’.  Terrain is varied throughout the race. Racers can expect anything from wet swampy stages right through to desert and mountainous conditions. The final stint is a flat-out dash to the finish – last year competitors reported using full throttle for up to 81 per cent of this leg.   Who can enter? Classes are split into four main sections: cars, trucks, bikes and quads.  CarsWith separate categories for both two- and four-wheel drive vehicles, plus petrols and diesels. There is even a class especially for alternative fuels. The field is usually dominated by fully spec’d all-wheel-drive cars. Interestingly, petrol powered cars are now allowed a slightly larger restrictor device than diesel cars, because it was decided that oil-burners had too much of an advantage in recent years.  TrucksTwo categories of truck are allowed to compete in the Dakar this year: series production trucks and modified trucks. The difference between the two is the level of modification allowed to endure the rigours of the race. At the top level these trucks really are something to behold. Point yourself to YouTube to see what we mean.  BikesThis is the first year larger cylinder bikes will be restricted. According to their results, the better riders will be asked to use a intake restrictor that brings the larger bikes down to the power levels of 450cc machines. By 2012 there won’t be any bikes over 450cc in the race. There are two types of vehicle allowed in this section, ‘marathon’ vehicles that must be exactly as the manufacturer designed, and ‘super production’, referring to modified vehicles.  QuadsCompetitors can use any quad as long as its engine is less than 500cc. It can be two or four-wheel driven.  Evo’s favourite We’re going to tip VW driver Nasser al-Attiyah to win the car category, but watch out for ex-WRC champion Carlos Sainz who could make waves this year. Both drivers are piloting heavily modified VW Touareg’s, so to hedge our bets, we’re shouting for a Volkswagen win at Dakar in 2010.

Click here for our day-to-day guide to the Dakar news

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

Follow evo on Twitter or Facebook for car news + views

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/porsche/911/201958/porsche-911-gt3-vs-gt3-rs-vs-gt2-rs-track-battle
Porsche 911

Porsche 911 GT3 vs GT3 RS vs GT2 RS - track battle

Porsche’s GT3, GT3 RS and GT2 RS are the most hardcore of the 911 breed, but pitched head‑to‑head which will we crown champion?
15 Nov 2019
Visit/buying-advice/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
used cars

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
15 Nov 2019
Visit/ferrari/201950/new-ferrari-roma-612bhp-198mph-gt-car-joins-the-range
Ferrari

New Ferrari Roma: 612bhp, 198mph GT car joins the range

Ferrari has expanded its GT car range with the V8 powered Ferrari Roma
14 Nov 2019
Visit/hyundai/i30-n-hatchback/201775/hyundai-i30-n-versus-hyundai-i30-tcr
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to find out.
20 Sep 2019