The 2005 Dakar Rally will be shorter but more challenging than before, race boss Patrick Zaniroli has said.
Stephane Peterhansel won the 2004 Dakar Rally
At 5,565 miles the race will be 1,242 miles shorter than in 2004.
The rally begins in Barcelona on 31 December with a short special stage around the Catalan city and will visit five countries.
"This year the stages are shorter but also more intense with the number of sand dune crossings in succession," said Zaniroli.
As a mark of respect to three-time motorcycle winner Richard Sainct, who was killed during the Rally of the Pharaohs in Egypt in September, the number one jersey will not be issued.
After leaving Spain the race will pass through Morocco, Mauritania and Mali before heading for Senegal for the traditional finale at the Lac Rose at Dakar on 16 January.