There’s a 2,500-Mile Dakar-Style Rally That’s Only for the Renault Twingo

Imagine taking a tiny, happy-looking French hatchback on the Dakar Rally. Now imagine 250 of them, and tell us that doesn’t sound like fun.

byJames Gilboy|
Twing Raid in Morocco
Twing Raid


All you need to know about the Renault Twingo is that he's just a silly little guy; just a little birthday boy. As one of the internet's supreme meme cars, it was only a matter of time before someone proposed something as absurd as a Dakar-style rally for Twingos only. They—and hundreds of other people—committed to the bit, and the "Twing Raid" is now a real, 2,500-mile rally in one of France's cheapest cars. Sounds awful, sign me up.

The Twing Raid takes 250 two-person teams across Morocco in first-gen Renault Twingos, which were made from 1992 to 2007 (or 2012 in Columbia). The Twingo both is and isn't suited for the job; it was a charming, no-frills economy car that you wouldn't exactly call rugged. Yet because it was "widely produced, reliable, light and inexpensive, the Twingo 1 is perfect for crossing the Sahara," says event founder Jeoffrey Decoupigny, who thought "it was time to give this '90s icon its raid."

The event begins in Spain, where teams and cars are inspected before taking a ferry to Morocco in northwest Africa. The hundreds of Twingos then depart Marrakesh to travel on a loop around the country, crossing open desert much of the way. Along the route, raid entrants distribute food, hygiene products, and school supplies that are otherwise hard to come by in rural Morocco. In that sense, it's a sort of sister event to the Gambler 500; the oddball rally that doubles as a trash cleanup. It also calls to mind SCORE Class 11 Baja Beetles.

Because the stock Twingo isn't built for this kind of punishment, many teams fit lift kits and skid plates to their cars—the organizers sell both. If competitors don't want to risk their own cars, the organizers also offer fully outfitted rentals. They also provide mechanical support at the nightly campsites, though teams have to bring their own parts and tools.

A Renault Twingo crests a dusty rise on the 2024 Twing Raid. Twing Raid

The inaugural Twing Raid was held this winter, and it apparently went down so well that the 2025 running is already fully booked. Entries are now being accepted for 2026, and cost the equivalent of $3,200. That assumes you have your own Twingo, of course; those rental cars can't be cheap. But it's hard to think of many experiences you can have on four wheels that are more memorable than sailing a cheap French car over thousands of miles of dunes.

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