The ASO, organizer of the Dakar Rally, has announced more details of next year’s race through Saudi Arabia.
The race’s move to Saudi Arabia was confirmed 10 days ago. After this year’s disappointment, which saw the Dakar confined to racing in Peru after other countries pulled out of the event, the rally’s future in South America was basically ended. At this point, it’s heading to Saudi Arabia for a five-year run, with the rally running entirely in that country, at least at this point.
Next year’s race will start January 5 in Jeddah, on Saudi Arabia’s western coast. It’s going to be a 12-day race covering approximately 9,000 km. January 11 will be the rest day, in the city of Riyadh. The race basically runs in a west-east spiral, with the finish line at Al Qiddiya.
The route will feature plenty of sand dunes, but the starting stages will also cover some mountainous territory, just like the race did for several years in South America. You can also expect some WRC-style stages, with wide-open racing, just like we saw in the past few years. However, it’s unlikely the racers will face the same problems with rainstorms as they did in South America, which resulted in canceled stages.