The Dakar is an endurance and navigation between Lisbon and Dakar for the cars, trucks, bikes and quads, including 15 stages.
Stage – a course to cover between two cities. It includes a special as well as one or two liaison sections, according to the days.
Special – It is also called a timed section. It’s the portion of a stage, covered on or off course, on which the competitors are timed between two time checks. The time registered on this section will be used to establish the standings.
Liaison – It’s the section, normally on tarmac, used to reach the start of a special and the then the finish bivouac of a stage. It is not timed but the competitors have to cover it in a maximum time.
Bivouac – The meeting point for the competitors of the race or in assistance as well as the members of the organisation and the press. It is always situated at an airport.
Navigation – Unlike for WRC races where the itineraries are marked, the discipline of rally-raid forces the competitors to orientate themselves and find the different CPs and CHs. They are given a road-book at the bivouac at the finish of the previous stage.
Road-book – It’s the document containing the course directions, the cape to follow, the dangers and the distances. The competitors can use their road-book thanks to their trip master.
GPS – Reduced to its simple function as a compass, it can be “unblocked” (with penalties), in other words additional guidance information will appear, if a competitor gets lost. It is also used as an “informer” to control the speed of competitors after every stage.
Iritrack – System transmitting information by satellite, mandatory for all vehicles. It allows a competitor to communicate with the PC (race headquarters) in case of danger and the organisation to know the precise position of a competitor in real time.
Check point (CP) – they are mandatory passages located on the course of the special. The competitors have their check point book posted at each control.
Time checks (CH) – they are located at the start and finish of each liaison and special.
Scratch – It’s the standing based on the time established by each competitor during a special.
Stage – It’s the standing established after the sum of possible penalties decided by the race officials according to the rule book.
Overall – It is established after adding the times of each stage.
Starts – every day, the bikes followed by the cars and finally the trucks take off according to the order of the previous day’s scratch standing. This common rule however has some exceptions:
* The first Portuguese stage – the bikes take off in the reverse order of their race numbers
* The last stage – the bikes take off in the reverse order of the overall standing
* The trucks – they are mixed with the cars as of the first Mauritanian stage.