1979 Dakar Rally also known as the 1979 Paris–Dakar Rally was the first running of the Dakar Rally event. The rally began on 26 December 1978 from Paris, France to Dakar, Senegal, interrupted by a transfer across the Mediterranean. The idea for the race originated when a racer Thierry Sabine got lost in the desert and decided that it would be a good location for a regular rally.
170 competitors started the rally. Cyril Neveu won the motorcycle category on a Yamaha. The car category was won by Genestier and Terbiaut in a Range Rover.