THE RULES OF THE REAL WAY TO DAKAR
On this page you will find the full overview of rules for the rally. Participants in the rally are required to read the rules thorougly and adhere to these rules ad all times during the rally.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE RALLY
The Real Way to Dakar is an annual off-road competition and adventure for enthusiasts who want to participate in a challenging and well-organised trans-African rally. The 2024 edition of the rally will take place from January 22nd to February 3rd with an optional soft start in Paris on January 18th.
There are 7 main classes and 9 categories:
- Motorcycles: Categories M1 up to 450cc, M2 451cc up to 690cc, M3 691cc up to 950 cc and non-fossil fuel
- Quads: Categories Q1 up to 700cc, Q2 701cc and up and non-fossil fuel
- UTV/BUGGY: Max up to 1499cc and non-fossil fuel
- Cars: Categories C1 up to 3000cc, C2 3001cc up to 4200cc, C3 4201cc and up and non-fossil fuel
- Veteran (60+)
- Classic vehicles (built before 1995)
The top three finishers in each category will be receiving awards. Special recognition is awarded to the most successful team overall in the team trophy competition.
A) Participants, registration, rally route and disqualifying behavior
1. The Real Way to Dakar is open to anyone over the age of 18 regardless of their rally experience or nationality. (Parents participating in the adventure category may bring their own kids over the age of 15 years and under their own supervision and responsibility.)
2. A rally racing license is not required to participate, and vehicles do not need to meet requirements set up by rally federations. However, they must be road legal and meet the requirements set forth in the rules by the Organisation.
3. Every participant is responsible for his/her own safety and security including the safety features of their vehicles.
Participants must understand the risks and dangers associated with a rally and also understand that they are participating at their own risk. Each participant is responsible for damages they may cause to themselves as well as other vehicles, humans, animals or property.
4. The driver is responsible for the vehicle as well as all passengers in the vehicle and all damage the car or its passengers may do to other people, animals or property.
5. All participants must always obey by the local traffic laws in all countries. In particular they must pay attention to and respect the speed limits on paved roads and through settlements.
– If the Organisation is forced to cancel the rally due to force majeure (e.g., war, dangers or threats, earthquakes, pandemics, natural disasters, travel restrictions etc.) before October 31st, participants will get a 100 % refund.
– If, after October 31st, the rally is prevented from taking place due to force majeure, the rally and all registrations will be moved to different dates where carrying out the rally is possible. No refunds will be made after October 31st.
– If participants cancel their registration, 50 % of the registration fee is refundable until October 31st
– Cancellation must be made with a cancellation form (available by request).
– After the beginning of November in the year before the rally, the fee is non-refundable unless the rally is canceled by the organisers.
7. The registration is for a specific category (Race, Adventure) and route (Full, Lite) and cannot be changed at a later date. The vehicle itself can be changed to another vehicle in the same class until the end of November in the year before the rally you registered for.
8. Registration is transferable to another participant until the end of October in the year before the rally that you registered for with a transfer fee of €500. Change or late delivery of detailed participant info has a cost of €100 per change.
9. The event is limited to 166 registered rally vehicles (start numbers).
10. Registration application and full payment must be submitted no later than October 31st the year before and no new registrations will be accepted after this date
11. After a review of the documents submitted as part of the online registration the documents will be approved by the Rally Director. After this approval, along with the technical inspections the day before the actual rally, every participant will be issued a rally pass that is required for entry into bivouacs.
12. The accepted vehicles will receive adhesive race decals with their start number. The dimensions of the decals are:
– Cars/Trucks: 47 cm high x 52,5 cm wide (located on both front doors).
– Moto, Quad/ATV, Buggy: 13 cm high x 15 cm wide (located on both sides and the front).
13. A participant may be disqualified from the event or be subjected to time penalties under the following circumstances:
13.1. Failure to obey instructions from any crew member from the Organisation.
13.2. Offense against the rules.
13.3. Behavior violating the spirit of the rules as judged by the Rally Director.
13.4. Disregard for fair play as judged by the Rally Director.
13.5. Dangerous, reckless or disrespectful driving on public road, in the terrain or in the bivouacs – and in all situations where local people, spectators, other participants or organisers are present.
13.6. Harming the natural environment.
13.7. Requesting medical assistance in case of a technical break down is considered as reckless endangerment of other participants and will result in disqualification from the rally.
13.8. For safety reasons – without the explicit consent of the Rally Director during the Real Way to Dakar – it is prohibited for the participants to:
– share any information of the intended routes and accommodation with unregistered people (except government authorities)
– share a ride with unregistered people (except government authorities)
– invite or host unregistered guests in the camps
Violation of these terms will result in disqualification from the rally.
14. As a service team or as a participant, you are not allowed to sell service, food or drinks to other participants in the rally, apart from the participants registered with your team. But you are free to help other participants without receiving any money etc.
15. Disqualified participants will not be allowed to continue in the rally or to stay in the rally camps.
16. The Rally Director is the only authorised person who can explain and may revise the race rules as the rally is underway – if deemed necessary. The Rally Director is the final judge in all disputes that may arise in the interpretation of the rules and any decisions made following the rules.
17. The organisers reserve the right to refuse any application to participate in the rally without any obligation to give any formal reason. Any payments to the organisers made prior to the rejection will be refunded.
18. The Rally Director reserves the right to modify the route, rules and travel arrangements as deemed necessary before and during the rally. All participants are required to accept and obey any changes following the decisions by the Rally Director and announced by the organisers.
19. All garbage, used spares, worn tires, oil etc. must be separated and disposed of in designated areas in each camp or in other authorised areas for waste. Failing to dispose of garbage etc. in authorised places may be subject to time penalties, relegation to the adventure category or disqualification from the rally. The Rally Director is the only person to judge and decide a penalty.
20. The Real Way to Dakar reserves the right to use any photographs/videos taken during the rally, without the expressed written permission of those included within the photographs/videos. The Real Way to Dakar may use the photographs/videos in publications or other media material produced, used or contracted by the rally including but not limited to: website, social media, newsletters, brochures, magazines, presentations, etc.
Any person or organisation not affiliated with The Real Way to Dakar may not use, copy, alter or modify photographs, graphics, videography or other, similar reproductions or recordings provided by the rally without the advance written permission of either the Rally Director or the Head of Communication.
B1) Document and technical Requirements - Documents
The requirements for the document and technical inspections are the same for all categories in the rally.
1. Every driver must hold and bring a standard and international driving license for the type of the registered vehicle.
2. Every vehicle must have and bring a valid registration certificate.
3. Every vehicle must have and bring a valid international insurance certificate (e.g. the Green Card valid for Morocco). The legally required liability insurance for vehicles driving in Mauritania and Senegal will be supplied by the organisation and paid for by the participant as part of the technical registration the day before the rally.
4. The vehicle must be registered in the name of the driver. In case the vehicle is not registered in the name of the driver, the driver must hold a French translation of the registration document validated by the registered owner of the vehicle or a document giving the driver all necessary legal rights to travel in and between the countries of the rally and validated by the owner of the vehicle.
5. Every participant must hold and bring a passport valid for at least 6 months after the completion of the event and must meet visa requirements of each of the countries visited.
6. Every participant must hold and bring a valid travel insurance for the countries visited.
7. Every participant registered in the full route from Morocco to Dakar must hold and bring an International Vaccination Card with recorded vaccination against Yellow Fever as well as other requirements of the countries visited. This may differ based on your country of origin.
Please be aware, that some countries may require documentation of participants having received a corona vaccination or taken a valid corona-test before entering.
8. Every participant is fully responsible for his/her own border crossings and must provide all the required documents and fees to the border officials.
B2) Document and technical Requirements - Technical
1. Every vehicle must pass the technical and document inspections before the start of the rally. All vehicles must fulfil the 1958 agreement for vehicle inspection. Only vehicles that satisfy all the requirements will be allowed to start.
2. Race category participants on Moto is limited to max 950 ccm.
3. Every vehicle must be equipped with mandatory equipment including a GPS navigation tool, a regional map and a first aid kit with:
- Band aids
- Antiseptic solution
- Sterile gauze
- Elastic bandages
- Thermal blanket
- Anti-inflamatory and analgesics medic actions
- Pain killers
The first aid kit needs to be with you every day on the track along with supplies of water and food for at least 24 hours.
4. Additionally, cars and trucks must be equipped with a fire extinguisher, rope, tools for common repairs and equipment to extract the vehicle from sand and mud.
5. All participants must use adequate personal protective equipment.
Motorcyclist in both the race and the adventure category must always wear an ECE 22.05 approved and damage free helmet while riding (even in camp) and are advised to use an Adventure Airbag Shirt for protection at all times.
Participants in the car and buggy race category must wear ECE 22.05 approved and damage free helmets from stage start to stage finish, but are not required to do so on liasons and border crossings. We strongly recommend that participants in the adventure category also wear helmets.
6. All participants must be in adequate health to start each stage. The Rally Director can at his discretion disqualify anyone deemed injured, sick or by other reasons unable to participate in a specific stage or continue in the rally.
7. All vehicles must meet minimal range requirements. Vehicles that do not meet range requirements may be relegated to the adventure category.
7.1. The minimum range for cars and trucks is 600 km.
7.2. Minimum range required for motorcycles and quads is 250 km.
7.3. Minimum range required for buggies is 350 km.
In the event that there are no refuelling opportunities on the route the organisers will carry your (own) jerry cans with your (own) fuel for your refuelling at designated refuelling points.
Each participant must bring at least 2 jerry cans for this purpose to be able to hand in 1 full jerry can every evening at the briefing for the days where it is needed. Information about refuelling opportunities will be given every night at the briefings for the following day.
7.4. Jerry cans must be fabricated from metal. Fuel must be transported in vehicle tanks, jerry cans or other approved containers at all times. Only 20l. jerry cans are accepted with the following measurements: 35 x 17 x 48 cm.
C) Race category regulations
1. Each vehicle is registered for the race according to the VIN number. Substituting the frame of the vehicles and thereby changing the VIN number during the rally is not allowed and neither is changing the engine capacity and thereby the relevant race category.
2. All vehicles in the race category must be equipped with a GPS receiver that must be turned on and storing the current track data for the entire duration of each stage. At the request of the Rally Director the device must be made available to the organisation for data download, or the participants may be requested to hand in this data on a usb-stick. This information may be used to verify compliance with the rules, specifically obeying speed limits and reaching of control points. The organisation is set up for downloading and inspecting data from Garmin devices in GPX-format. If another brand is used the owner must be able to provide GPX formatted data.
3. All vehicles must traverse the entire stage (special sections as well as any liaison sections) under the power of their own engine. In special sections short recoveries and towing with the help from others and for a distance up to 30 meters are accepted. Failure to traverse the sections or getting towed for any portion of the stage longer than 30 meters results in time penalties as described in the timing section.
4. Participants must enter the special section start corral 1 minute prior to their start time. The corral is marked by yellow and red flagging. Competitors must start at their assigned starting time. Early start is allowed only with agreement of the organisers.
5. Participants who are unable to start or to end the race for an entire day’s race or a special section can apply to be excused from the stage or section. An excuse card is available at briefings or at the start of a special section from the organisers. The excuse card must be filled and handed in personally to members of the organization on – or before – the assigned starting time for the first special section of the day. A picture of the signees Start Card along with an excuse card as well as information that the participant want to use an excuse for the specific day can also be send to a WhatsApp number marked on the excuse card.
In this situation the organisers will not respond to assistance requests before the participant is back in the race in the next section on the same day or the first section of the next day – depending on the statement of the excuse card. In this situation, it is up to the participant’s service team to support the participant.
Failure to notify the organisers about an excuse will result in relegation into the adventure category. Excuse from the day or from a section can be given only 2 times (two full days) for the entire rally. If more excuses are needed the participant will be relegated to the adventure category.
6. If participants cannot make the time limit for the special section 1 on a race day, they will not be allowed to enter the special section 2 later that same day.
7. Repairs during the rally, including the replacement or rebuild of major components, are allowed without penalties as long as the VIN number and/or engine size is not changed.
8. Every vehicle must start each stage in a legal, roadworthy and safe condition and meet the technical inspection requirements as they were accepted at the initial inspections.
9. The complete crew must be present for the duration of the stage. No team substitutions are allowed. The Rally Director must be informed about any technical or medical situation that may require a team to break up for any part of the rally.
10. Violation of competition regulations results in relegation to the adventure category.
11. All vehicles registered in the race category must do a minimum of 50 % of the total numbers of control points during the rally as calculated by the end of the rally. If you are in the Lite Race category it is 50 % of the control points in the Lite Race. If a participant does less than 50 % of the control points you will be relegated to the adventure category as soon as you hit this limit.
12. If – for any reason – a special section is cancelled before or during a stage (e.g. due to bad weather) the timing of this special section will be neutralized. It is not allowed to start on a special section that has been cancelled and the service route must be used. Participants who start on a special section that has been cancelled will be disqualified.
13. All vehicles must start and finish the rally by the power of their own engine.
14. Appeals and protests against incidents during the days stages must be delivered within 1 hour after arriving at the stage finish if it concerns the race or 1 hour after the publishing of the official result of the stage if it concerns the timing or stage results.
After the filing and investigation, the Rally Director will make a decision. If the appeal is denied the person requesting the appeal will be fined €50 to be paid before the participant can continue in the rally.
D) Race category regulations - Timing
1. In the Race category, the competitor race against the clock while reaching a number of control points and completing the timed special sections within a given time limit.
2. Competitor time can be stopped only in case of medical assistance for other rally participants or by decision of the Rally Director.
3. The stage itinerary lists control points and waypoints. Only the control points are mandatory. The waypoints are provided only as navigational aids.
4. A control point is considered reached if you are within a 50 meter radius of the GPS coordinate specified.
5. Every stage has one or more timed special sections and liaison segments. Under certain circumstances (e.g. border crossing) a stage may be only a liaison without special sections.
6. Failure to start the first special section of the day on time will result in a time penalty of 5 minutes pr. 1 minute that you are late for the start – unless you filed an excuse for the stage or day. If you are more than 10 minutes late for your start, you will not be allowed to start that special section and you will be relegated to the adventure category.
Race days with more than 1 special section may have a time limit to the first special section. If you do not meet the time limit for the first special section, you will not be allowed to start the second special section.
7. If you do not meet the time limit for the first special section, you are not allowed to drive the route through the racetrack and must reach camp via the service route.
8. Participants who do not complete a special section will be assigned a 2-hour penalty for each missed control point (CP). Participants who do not complete a liason will be assigned a 2-hour penalty on race days and a 10-hour penalty for not completing the liasons on the days of the border crossings.
9. Only short recoveries up to 30 meters are allowed in special sections. Recoveries over 30 meters by a competitor will result in a 4-hour penalty for the stage.
10. If you do not reach a control point (CP) (within a 50 meter radius) you will get a 2-hour penalty for each missed control point (CP).
11. There are time penalties issued by the Rally Director for breaking traffic laws on public roads as well as other specified speed limits in locations disclosed during the briefings (e.g. villages, residential areas etc.).
For violation of speed limits there is a 2-minute penalty for each km/h over the speed limit for the first 10 km/h over the limit, and a 5-minute penalty for each km/h over the limit for the next 10 km/h. And a 2-hour penalty for violations of more than 20 km/h over the speed limit (e.g. 3:10 in penalty for speeding 21 km more than the limit).
Other violations of local traffic laws will be penalized with time penalties after a decision made by the Rally Director.
12. At the request of the Rally Director the track file from the GPS device must be made available to the organisation. The files must be delivered in GPX format and with the file named with the participant’s start number and the day of the event. This information may be used to verify compliance with the rules, specifically obeying speed limits and reaching of control points.
Failure to provide the track data will result in 2-hour penalty for each missed control point (CP) in the track not delivered.
13. The rankings are based on the overall time of the sections you started including penalties.
14. The optional rally-start in Paris and the time spend from Paris to the formal registration and start in Morocco will not be included in the rankings and there is no timekeeping by the organisers before the start in Morocco.
15. All participants starting in Paris must traverse the entire distance from Paris to the registration in Morocco on their own vehicle to receive the special decals and awards for this (Car, Moto, Buggy etc.).
E) Race category regulations - Itinerary, navigation and start card
1. At the evening briefing prior to every stage, participants will receive a stage itinerary in paper form and as a GPX file.
2. Participants who choose to use the electronic format must provide a USB flash drive to the organisers before the briefing and they will receive the drive after the briefing with the file on it. You need to bring 2 USB-sticks as you will hand in 1 USB-stick every time you collect the other for the next day..
3. Content of the itinerary:
– GPS coordinates for special section start and finish locations.
– Coordinates of control points.
– Route way points.
– Locations of refuelling stations along the route.
– Other important guidelines for the stage (Paper version).
4. Participants will also receive information on:
– Precise time to start each special section.
– Time limit for each special section.
– Time penalties associated with the failure to reach each control point if they are different from the general rules.
– If a start card is used it must be handed over to a designated organisation team member at the beginning and end of each special section and at the end of the stage. If the start card is lost, you will receive a 2-hour penalty.
F) Race category regulations - Technical and medical assistance
1. Participants may receive technical and other assistance from another participant or service team at any time during the race without penalty.
2. Every vehicle in the Race category must be equipped with a device for requesting medical or technical assistance. The device [e.g. a Yellow Brick or SPOT] will be supplied by the organisers and is mandatory for all vehicles to bring and activate the device every day to allow tracking. Information will be given at briefings and must be followed.
3. At the time of registration all participants pay a deposit of €300 to pay for any loss or damage to the tracker. If the device is lost or damaged the organisers will substitute or repair the device before the participant is allowed to continue. After the rally, the deposit will be reimbursed to the participant, only deducting costs for any damage or loss of the equipment.
4. When traveling on service routes or alternative routes while not in the Race, on liasons and on the days of the border crossings you are travelling under your own responsibility and the organisation will not react to medical or technical needs. Your service team must be able to assist you.
5. If you request technical or medical assistance from the organisers during a stage or special section – even if they are standing in front of you – you must push the button on the device indicating that you need and want assistance.
6. Anyone who requests technical assistance from the organisers by using the device will be relegated to the adventure category (except for legitimate calling for the other rally participants in medical case).
7. Anyone who requests medical assistance from the organisers by using the device will be out of the event.
8. Requesting medical assistance in case of a technical break down is considered as reckless endangerment of other participants and will result in disqualification from the rally.
9. In case of a medical issue our medic team operating in the tracks will get to you as soon as possible. If you are not able to continue on your own, you will be transported to camp or to a medical facility or hospital for treatment if necessary. Our medic team will then resume their support of other participants in the tracks.
We recommend that you get in touch with your travel insurance company at this point, to make sure you get the assistance from them that you need to sort out the situation. If necessary, we will inform your service team and let them know where you are, so that they may assist you in making any medical and/or practical arrangements.
If you have to exit the rally due to medical issues, we may have the opportunity to bring small motorbikes to camp and we will try to tow quads, cars, ATV’s etc. if the terrain allows this. In the case of heavy bikes (e.g. >800cc), vehicles that cannot be towed or terrain that does not allow towing, the organisers will assist you in getting in contact with local assistance to get your vehicle out. However, this is your responsibility and must be paid for by you.
10. In case of a technical issue our team in the tracks will get to you and try to help you sort the issue. If it is not possible to sort the issue, we will transport you to the next camp. We may have the opportunity to bring small motorbikes to the camp along with you and we will try to tow quads, cars, ATV’s etc. if the terrain allows such an operation. In case of heavy bikes (e.g. >800cc), vehicles that cannot be towed or terrain that does not allow towing the organisers will assist you in getting in contact with local assistance to get your vehicle out. However, this is your responsibility and must be paid for by you.
11. In case of technical or medical issues that means that you will not be able to continue as a participant with your own vehicle, you must organise your personal transport as well as the transport of your vehicle. However, if you find a way to transport yourself from camp to camp, you are welcome to stay for the duration of the rally.
12. If you – for any reason – leave a vehicle behind in the desert or elsewhere and don’t bring it out of the country you imported it to, the organisers may have to pay for the rescue of the vehicle and may be subject to a fine from local authorities. In this case, you will have to pay for any costs incurred by the organisation related to the rescuing, export and other costs and fines of the vehicle you registered to the rally.
G) Adventure category regulations
1. Participants who registered for the adventure category as well as participants who originally registered in the race category but has been relegated to the adventure category must follow the rules of the adventure category.
2. Adventure category participants on Moto is limited to max 950 ccm
3. Prior to every stage all participants will receive a stage itinerary, listing GPS route waypoints as well as a starting card with the designated starting time.
Participants in the adventure category must attend a special adventure briefing after the race briefing. If – for any reason – participants in the adventure category do not attend the adventure briefing, he or she can send somebody else (e.g. a member of their service team or a fellow rider). Regardless, the participant must follow the instructions given at the briefing. Failure to do so may result in disqualification from the rally.
4. The printed itinerary will also list other important guidelines for the stage and the route will be the same as the Race category. Every day there may be different options and a variety of routes to follow, and the specific options may vary from participant to participant based on the type of vehicle, driving skills etc.
5. Most days there will be options to skip parts of the race route and connect to the service route to use this to get to the next camp. If you choose to leave the race route by different roads or if you choose to drive backwards in the track, this will be at your own responsibility and risk.
6. There will be days where you must take the service route. Some terrain demands race category skills and don’t give the opportunity to skip the rougher parts.
7. On days with two special stages, participants in the adventure category can only expect to be able to do the first special stage. The different stage options will be given at each adventure briefing and must be followed.
8. If – for any reason – a special section is cancelled before or during a stage (e.g. due to bad weather) the timing of this special section will be neutralized. You are not allowed to start on a special section that has been cancelled and the service route must be used. Participants who start on a special section that has been cancelled will be disqualified.
9. Participants in the adventure category can on any given day choose to do the service route. This will often be the best option in terms of the quality of the road, the distance you need to travel as well as the best option for visiting towns and shopping for food etc.
If you choose the service route or an alternative route, the organisers are not obliged to assist you in the event that you need technical or medical assistance.
10. Participants are required to arrive at the bivouac within the set time limit and notify the organisers if they are delayed or choose not to stay in the rally camp.
11. The organisers are not obliged to assist the participants after the stage time limit if the participant fails to notify the organisers about the late arrival.
12. Every vehicle in the adventure category must be equipped with a device for requesting medical or technical assistance. The device [e.g. a Yellow Brick or SPOT] will be supplied by the organisers and it is mandatory for all vehicles to bring and activate the device every day to allow tracking. Information will be given at briefings and must be followed.
At the technical inspection all participants pay a deposit of €300 to pay for any loss or damage to the tracker. If the device is lost or damaged the organisers will substitute or repair the device before the participant is allowed to continue. After the rally the deposit will be repaid to the participant after paying for any damage or loss of this equipment.
13. The participants can request medical or technical assistance from the organisation once (except for legitimate calling for the other rally participants in medical case) for the duration of the rally using the device, satellite phone or mobile phone if service is available.
After the use of the medical or technical assistance from the organisation you have two options: 1) You can leave the event, or 2) You can pay €500 to get the possibility to use the medical or technical assistance again. The payment must be made directly to the Rally Director before starting the next stage.
15. When traveling on service routes or alternative routes to the Race route you are travelling under your own responsibility and the organisation will not react on medical or technical needs.
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