The Dakar Rally (or simply "The Dakar"; formerly known as "The Paris Dakar" and now as "The Lisbon Dakar Rally") is an annual off-road race, organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation. The race is open to amateur and professional entries; amateurs typically make up about eighty percent of the participants.
Despite its name, it is an off-road endurance race rather than a conventional rally – the terrain the competitors traverse is much tougher and the vehicles used are true off-road vehicles rather than the modified sedans used in rallies. Most of the competitive specials are off-road, crossing dunes, mud, camel grass, rocks, erg, among others. The distances of each stage covered vary from several kilometers up to 800-900 kilometers per day.
The three major competitive groups in the Dakar are the bike class, the car class, which ranges from buggies to small SUVs, and the T4 truck class. Many vehicle manufacturers exploit the harsh environment the rally offers as a testing ground, and consequently to demonstrate the durability of their vehicles, although most vehicles are heavily modified.