The rally starts with a Departure Village, the aim of which is to bring together all crews that are taking part in the event for a single, general departure point.  At this pressured time, the organisers undertake technical and administrative checks of the crews, covering issues such as passports, car insurance, medical interviews, driving licence checks, student cards, and a list of the school supplies to be delivered.

This year’s Departure Village will take place on 20 and 21 February 2019 in Biarritz. Mandatory technical and administrative checks for the competitors will be on the agenda, alongside a number of events for the general public.  The highly-anticipated departure will be announced to the competitors at around 12 noon.

Once the departure signal has been given, the teams will head through southern Europe to Algeciras, where specially chartered ferries will await them and take them to northern Morocco.  This marks the true start of the Rally, with the organisers assuming control of the events.