I'm hanging out in London and one of the guys here is into rally raids ....
He just bought a Desert Warrior 1 - http://www.rallyraid.co.uk/prev.htm
He is doing the above next year, it is a low cost Dakar, super tough, but without the stress of the Dakar, if you don’t finish one day it’s OK, you can take your time to fix the car and re-join the following day.
He already got the support & mechanics sorted out.
There are two categories, Amateur (tough but fun) and Professional (double tough…, longer and more difficult routes)
He suggested I could hire a Defender with a roll cage & do the Amateur, or hire a beefed up Land Cruiser or Desert Warrior & do the professional. not quite sure about that ... I haven't even softroaded my defender!!