Dakar Rally – Thrilling Desert Offroad Racing
In 2009 the Dakar Rally was moved to South America with the route traveling through Argentina and Chile. The 2010 Dakar Rally was once again hosted by these South American countries.
The Dakar Rally has an international following and is known as one of the biggest and most dangerous challenges of endurance in the world. It is probably due to the unpredictability of the course that so many contestants, spectators and members of the media are lured to this annual test of strength and determination. The rugged terrain, the majestic deserts and mystic locations also receive coverage and attention during this time and the entire race includes different aspects of the mysterious and exotic country of Morocco.
The 2007 Dakar Rally saw more than five hundred teams take up the challenge to cover the 5 000 miles that lay before them. The rally stretches across six countries with the finish line waiting in the capital city of Senegal, namely Dakar. Theirry Sabine organized the first rally in the year 1979 with the route that started in Paris and ended in Dakar. Every year, the route changes according to the political situation of various countries and the corresponding level of safety in each ones. However, regardless of where it starts and how far it runs, it always ends in Dakar. In 2007 the route started in Portugal and Mali, Morocco, Mauritania and Spain.
Navigational skills are essential, as Mark Thatcher found out in 1982 when he got lost in the desert for six days. The heat in the desert is also another factor to be aware of and participants are advised to be vigilant against heat exhaustion and dehydration. And with trucks, motorcycles and automobiles racing across the desert sand in their separate categories, accidents do happen. Some are fatal to the participants and sometimes spectators are also injured or even killed. But even though this is the case there are more entries and more spectators every year.
The 2007 Dakar Rally saw three stages being run in Morocco, with the Moroccan leg of the race notorious for being the most demanding and tiring – it was so tiring in fact that many entrants retired from the race during this leg. The first Moroccan stage was between Nador and Errachida, which is a 252 kilometer stretch. From Errachida participants had to complete the 400 kilometer route to Quarzazat, with the last stage being the 325 kilometers that cover the route from Quarzazat to Tan Tan. With such a large portion of the race being done in Morocco, the country has many tourists and visitors flooding in to view the race. The extensive news coverage and live recordings of the race also helps to advertise the country to a large number of international spectators.
The publicity that the Dakar Rally brings to Morocco is of great assistance to the tourism industry. It also gives spectators a small glimpse of this beautiful country – a glimpse that will hopefully encourage them to return for a relaxing and revitalizing vacation.