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ADV NewsDakar 2024 Adds New Difficulty To The Race With 48-HR Chrono Stage

Dakar 2024 Adds New Difficulty To The Race With 48-HR Chrono Stage

The grueling race adds additional hurdles to overcome.

Published on 06.20.2023

Next January, the world’s most grueling rally is returning to Saudi Arabia with a punishing 12-stage route that will cover 5,000 km, 60% of which will feature all-new sections. “The challenge will be just as daunting as last January,” warns race director David Castera, who promises the competitors massive stretches of dunes where navigation difficulties will accompany the technical challenges of crossing them.

For the latest edition of the iconic rally, a new stage format has been created that is certain to spice things up and deliver some drama. Called the “48-hour Chrono Stage,” the new challenge will be contested over two days with the constraints of a marathon stage where all outside assistance is prohibited and riders camp on their own. However, for the upcoming edition of the race there will be additional hurdles to overcome.

Just like in past marathon stages, competitors are permitted to help each other during the evening, but this time, there will be no choice of canteen or repair companions, as the drivers and crews will be spread out over eight different bivouacs. And where each rider ends up will be determined by the clock. 


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When the clock strikes 4 pm, all vehicles will be required to stop at the next bivouac they come across. Wherever they end up and with no connection or visibility of their rivals’ performances, the competitors will have to set up camp, make any necessary repairs and set off again at 7 am the following day to complete the remaining section of the route. The tally will be counted after around 600 kilometers of the next day’s special stage.

The immense desert of the Empty Quarter will be the venue for the all-new 48-hour stage where the organizers have two separate routes planned, one for motorbikes and quads and the other for cars and trucks. Therefore, the top FIA teams will not benefit from the tracks left by the two-wheelers and will have to navigate based on their talent. 

As a result time ‘bonuses’ will be awarded to trucks and cars that open the stage, just like it was introduced in the previous edition for bikes. 

Hydrogen, Electric & Hybrid Vehicles

During next year’s rally, the Dakar Future Mission 1000 will also debut. This new feature offers constructors an opportunity to test vehicles with innovative technologies on Dakar terrain: over a hundred kilometers per day, with their performance evaluated in a giant laboratory. Each day, the vehicles taking part will set off on a route of around 100 kilometers that will not be the same as the official route but will pose similar difficulties.

In an experimental mode, only the energy sources that consume the least fuel are included in Mission 1000: hydrogen, 100% electric or hybrid engines with a minimal amount of biofuel on board.

No winners, no losers. Although Mission 1000 participants will eventually be entered into a real competition. Initially, they will be invited to participate in a full-scale test, allowing carmakers to gather as much information as possible. However, their performance in terms of technical reliability, energy consumption and carbon footprint will be assessed by a panel of experts.

1 Prologue, 12 Stages, 14 Days Of Racing

The rally’s fifth edition in Saudi Arabia will be held from the 5th to the 19th of January 2024, starting in the thousand-year-old city of AlUla, crossing the country in the direction of the Empty Quarter and finishing in Yanbu on the shores of the Red Sea. Following last year’s demanding edition, organizers are promising a Dakar 2024 with 14 days of racing just as grueling in terms of a challenge. 

A total of nine bivouacs will be set up on a large swathe running west-east, crisscrossing the route in both directions to a final finish in Yanbu, on the shores of the Red Sea.

Next year’s race will also see the return of the Dakar Classic. Vehicles from the 1980s and 1990s will be able to race the Dakar tracks but this year the format will be limited to around 100 crews. Replicas of René Metge’s and Jacky Ickx’s Porsche 911s, Ari Vatanen’s 205 Peugeot and Jan De Rooy’s double-cab DAF truck all enjoy a new lease on life on the Dakar Classic. So far, this category has only been reserved to cars with no news of classic bikes participating. 

Author: ADV Pulse Staff
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