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ADV EventsBike RallysDakar Rally - Jan. 5-17, 2020

Dakar Rally – Jan. 5-17, 2020

The most grueling rally raid comes back for its 42nd Edition in Saudi Arabia.

Published on 11.30.2019

The Dakar Rally will start in the Middle East for the first time next year with Saudi Arabia having signed a five-year deal to host the prestigious race. Since 2009, the event had been relocated to South America, following terrorists threats that forced cancellation of the 2008 Rally running through Africa.

The varied landscapes of the 30th country to host the Dakar have all the ingredients for a well-rounded route with 1.4 million square miles of desert as well as the Asir mountain range. A wide range of challenges will color the rally, including canyons, dunes, mountains, wadis and more. The terrain is expected to put Dakar competitors through their paces on all fronts: driving and riding, navigation and endurance.

“Africa, South America… and now Asia. Here, in the largest state in the region, we can let our imagination run riot with the infinite possibilities for a tough, balanced and varied course. The sporting challenge that we are putting together for the 42nd edition will tap the full potential of this vast country and its mosaic of deserts, mountains, canyons, valleys and coastal landscapes,” said Dakar director, David Castera.


With an overall distance close to 7,900km, the competitors will battle over 5,000km of special stages. In addition to discovering the Saudi Arabian dunes, which will be featured in the second-half of the rally, the first-half of the Dakar will take racers through a labyrinth of tracks where navigation skills will be essential. The new roadbooks and the new marathon stages introduced will help reduce the gaps between the big teams and amateurs.

Jeddah, the second largest city in the country, will be the starting point of the Dakar. The first third of the rally will test the navigation skills of the riders and teams with direction choices made more complicated by the multitude of tracks. Near the Red Sea or the Jordanian border for the stages around Neom then towards Al Ula, it will be the skilled navigators who will lead the way.

With more and more sand, the course will pose major challenges in the dunes between Ha’il and the capital Riyadh, where there will be a rest day. The rally will continue and intensify with the discovery and exploration of the vast “Empty Quarter” a deserted portion of the Saudi territory where the all-important Shubaytah and Haradh stages will be contested. But the general classification will not necessarily be set in stone heading into the final Qiddiyah stage, where navigation could catch out even the best.

For more details including finalized route and rule changes announced go here  or visit

Author: ADV Pulse Staff

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