FX Excursions

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Dakar Rally

by Jack Guy

May 4, 2020

© Indalecio Sabbioni | Dreamstime.com

Trends / Sports

Formerly known as the Paris-Dakar Rally, this annual race is an off-road endurance event involving a number of different vehicle classes.


Competitors can choose to drive motorbikes, quad bikes, cars, trucks or utility terrain vehicles, which look a bit like golf carts. The race consists of 12 stages, each of which has a set of GPS waypoints that competitors have to pass through. It’s a test of navigational skills, driving skills and the durability of the vehicles. Some of the stages are short and fast, while others last for as long as 10 hours.


For 40 years after its inauguration, the race ran from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal, but security issues in Mauritania forced the cancellation of the 2008 edition. From 2009–2019, the race moved to South America, and the 2020 edition took place in Saudi Arabia.


The latest winner in the car class was Spanish driver Carlos Sainz, who has now won the race three times. Sainz is a former World Rally Championship driver, and has won the Dakar Rally on three different continents.


The 2020 race also saw the first U.S. winner in history, as Ricky Brabec won the motorcycle category. Brabec came close in 2019, when he was in the lead heading into the final stage, but his hopes were ended by engine failure.


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