New Beginnings for Dakar Rally
The Rally is set to take place in Saudi Arabia over the next five years
Words by Ankita Bhowmick in The Lifestyle · Jan 2nd, 2020
The biggest rally-raid in the world, Dakar is a human adventure beyond comparison. It is one of the hardest sporting challenges of this era and is known for carrying a legacy of 40 years in the world’s finest deserts with performers from all over the world.
The competition of this extreme race hosts the leading rally race drivers and also hosts amateur competitors. The vehicles used in the competition range from bikes, quads, cars and trucks. The rally lasts for 15 days and hosts 500 competitors of more than 60 nationalities, whose skills are tested over 10 stages of challenging desert terrain throughout Saudi Arabia.
Following three decades of challenges through Africa and 10 years of exploration in South America, Saudi Arabia is the first country to host the rally in Asia from January 5.
The 30th country to host the Dakar Rally, Saudi Arabia features grandiose and varied landscapes that ideally suit the rally’s well-rounded route. The three cities that will be hosting the competition are Jeddah, Riyadh and Al Qiddiya.
Stretching over more than two million square kilometres, Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East and boasts a mosaic landscape that will provide the Dakar competitors paces on all fronts: driving and riding, navigating and endurance.
The rally will commence in Jeddah, which will also be the launchpad for drivers, riders and Dakar’s crews. It will then move along the red sea coastline, through challenging sand dunes and mesmerising landscapes. It will pass the Red Sea project, a mega tourism project featuring 90 islands. The race will also cover desert and mountain terrains in Al Qiddiya.
The contestants will also cover Neom, a city in the northwest of the kingdom. Riyadh, the capital and largest city of the country will host them for a single day which will be used for them to rest.
According to Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, chairman of the Saudi General Sports Authority, “While we are very pleased to have signed a multi-year agreement to bring the Dakar Rally to Saudi Arabia, we are excited to welcome the world to the Kingdom to see and experience the breathtaking scenery and stunning landscape our deserts that we have to offer.”
“The addition of rally to the growing, high-calibre, international sports calendar of the Kingdom is a true testament to the objectives of Vision 2030, sending a strong message of openness and welcome to the world through sports, tourism, and culture,” he added.