Dakar Rally 2003
The Dakar Rally (or simply "The Dakar"; formerly known as the "Paris–Dakar Rally") is an annual rally raid organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation. Most events since the inception in 1978 were from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal, but due to security threats in Mauritania, which led to the cancellation of the 2008 rally, races since 2009 have been held in South America. The race is open to amateur and professional entries, amateurs typically making up about eighty percent of the participants.The race is an off-road endurance event. The terrain that the competitors traverse is much tougher than that used in conventional rallying, and the vehicles used are true off-road vehicles rather than modified on-road vehicles. Most of the competitive special sections are off-road, crossing dunes, mud, camel grass, rocks, and erg among others. The distances of each stage covered vary from short distances up to 800–900 kilometres (500–560 mi) per day. In an on-site report from the 2002 rally, Sports Illustrated writer Franz Lidz called the spectacle a "brutal off-road horror-fantasy that plays out every January along the ancient paths of the salt caravans.