In the last week of December, 1978, 182 vehicles lined up in Paris and took off towards Dakar, the capital of Senegal, more than 7,000 miles away. The year before, driver Thierry Sabine got lost in the Libyan desert, survived, came back to France and said, essentially, "That was amazing. Let's all do it together!" Since then, it has began in various places (such as Granada and Barcelona, Spain), ended in others (Cape Town, Cairo), suffered sandstorms, deaths, disappearances (Margaret Thatcher's son, for six days, in 1982), and terrorist threats (which resulted in the canceling of 2008's competition). Last year, due to instability in Africa, the race took place outside of the continent for the first time in its history. Participants including drivers of 177 cars, 217 motorcycles, 81 trucks and 25 quad bikes drove through Argentina and Chile.