The class T1 comprises the prototypes and so the MINI John Cooper Works Rally and the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy run by the X-raid Team too.

The close-to-production cars start in class T2. Here, only certain components of the vehicles may be enhanced or changed and adapted to the forces they have to cope with.

Group OP ‘Open’: this group comprises – inter alia – vehicles that have been designed and built according to the US-American score regulations.

The trucks race in the class T4.

Furthermore, the field always features competitors who contest the Dakar in the ‘Alternative Energies’ category.

The used engines have to be taken from series production cars (more than 2.500 units per year). The following parts have to be the same as in the series production: Engine block, Crankshaft, Con-rods, Pistons, Valve train and connected pulleys, Cylinder heads as complete units (including valves, camshafts, etc.).
Help in case of technical problems

The mechanics of a team may work on the cars only in the bivouac and on the liaison (connection line between bivouac and stage) if it overlaps with the service route (connection line from bivouac to bivouac for service vehicles). During the entire stage, it is strictly forbidden for service staff to lay hands on the racing cars. Only race participants are allowed to help each other.

Usually, drivers and navigators are able to solve minor problems without help. In the event of major damage, they resort to racing trucks, which are used by many teams as so-called “fast assistance”. In addition to the driver and co-driver, these racing trucks also have a mechanic in the cockpit and usually carry larger spare parts with them. Racing cars can also be towed to the finish line by another participant.

Participants may have satellite phones on board in case of emergency, but the use of these phones while driving is prohibited. Radio communication and/or data transmission between participants and the team is not allowed.

Starting order
Only on day one, the competitors will start into the stage according to their numbers. From day two, the result of the previous stage will determine the starting order. This means that the winner of the previous stage will be the first to go out on the following day. Should a competitor who holds a top-15 position in the car category have encountered a problem and therefore will be further back in the starting order, he is allowed to demand three times to be moved to a better starting position. By doing so, he avoids having to overtake numerous slower competitors.

Navigation regulations are strict. The only tools that participants are allowed to use are the Roadbook, the Trip Master and the GPS compass function. Apart from that, it is forbidden to use all other functions of the GPS. In case of an emergency, the crew can use the GPS, but must expect a time penalty of several hours. If a crew uses the GPS for the fourth time, it will be disqualified.

During a special stage, participants must pass several waypoints defined by the organizer. If you miss a waypoint, you will face time penalties or even disqualification. The waypoints are intended to ensure that participants follow the planned route instead of using abbreviations and have a new origin for their navigation after longer compass navigation distances.

The waypoints at a glance

WPV (Visible waypoint): An information point that displays the time control at the start and finish in the bivouac.

WPS (Security waypoint): This waypoint indicates dangerous places on the route. As soon as the participants enter a radius of three kilometres around this point, the GPS will guide them to the point. You will need to pass through it within a 90-metre radius to be validated.

WPC (Control waypoint): The WPC is a waypoint with a radius of 300 meters. It is confirmed within 300 meters, but must be found without the GPS. The WPC will largely replace the WPM at the Dakar Rally.

WPM (Hidden waypoint): When participants enter the 800-metre radius around the WPM, the GPS will activate and guide them to the centre of gravity. Participants must pass the waypoint within a radius of 200 meters to be confirmed.

WPE (Eclipse waypoint): A point to which the GPS will guide the competitor as soon as the waypoint before this WPE has been confirmed. The WPE must be passed within a radius of 200 meters to be validated.

The competitors are supposed to find their way solely by dint of the road book. Nonetheless, there are areas where the organisers mark the right path with warning tape. These areas are sensitive zones such as agricultural areas and highly populated or dangerous sectors. These are indicated in the road book with a special mark. Here, the ASO ‘rewards’ every offenses with draconic penalties, which can lead even to disqualification in case of recidive.

Speed checks even at the Dakar

As a rule, the racing cars can choose their speed freely in the special stages. However, the organizers have introduced the”speed zones”. Participants may not drive faster than 30,50 or 90 km/h. This applies in particular to those areas where the organisers expect a large crowd of people or where villages are traversed. If not in a special stage, participants must adhere to the local limits.

Service vehicles must permanently observe speed limits. Depending on the country, the speed limit for passenger cars is up to 110 km/h and 90 km/h for trucks. When these vehicles enter a bivouac, compliance with these limits is checked by means of the electronic road book “Tripy”. In case of multiple exceedances, even the fastest race car of the respective team can receive time penalties.

Marathon stage
Here the crews have to spend a night without their teams and mechanics. The participants and the service will stay overnight in separate bivouacs. Participants have to repair and maintain their vehicles themselves, and apart from the tires and spare parts that are transported in the car, no other may be used.
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