Dakar Rally organisers shared key details for the 2020 edition of the cross-country rally as it moves to a new destination in Asia/Middle East in Saudi Arabia.
The move from South America, where the rally was no longer financial stable, to Asia/Middle East was officially confirmed earlier in April. On Thursday, the organisers hosted a press conference in Saudi Arabia to reveal key details regarding the 2020 event.
The date of the 2020 Saudi Arabia rally has been fixed for January 5-17. The route will see the rally kick-off in Jeddah as the participants will then move towards Al Madinah, followed by Tabuk, Al Qacim and Riyadh – where they will have a rest day.
From Riyadh, they will move towards Asir and after few more stops, the cross-country rally will eventually end in Al Qiddya. The official presentation was attended by the key figures within Saudi motorsport and also Dakar officials.
In terms of drivers and riders, Carlos Sainz Sr, Stephane Peterhansel, Nani Roma, Giniel de Villiers, Sam Sunderland, Adrian van Beveren, Laia Sanz, Joan Barreda and Yazid Al Rajhi were all present for the first official press conference for the 2020 event.
Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, Chairman of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority, said: “Saudi Dakar 2020 will be a journey through breath taking scenery, unknown landscapes, unexpected challenges, untold stories and unbelievable memories.
“Together, Saudi Arabia & the Dakar Rally will write a new chapter and tell a new story, a story of how the greatest race on Earth and the most ambitious social mission on the planet – Vision 2030 – united to redefine the human adventure.
“Dakar is more than just a race, it is a strong message of openness and welcoming that the Kingdom wants to send to the world through Sports, Tourism and Culture. It is also another testament of its vision and ability to host the biggest sporting events.
“And a chance for the whole world to see the real Kingdom, to meet its generous people and to witness first-hand how it is driven by ambition, professionalism and the desire to succeed at the highest levels.
“We look forward to welcoming Dakar and the world in their home, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” At the same time, Dakar Rally Director, David Castera penned down a long message to talk about the move from America to Asia.
“Every once in a while, all the signs indicate that we are on the verge of turning a new page of history. The book of the Dakar tells the story of all these characters who had the chance and talent to live multiple lives in one,” he started.
“It often compelled them to jump on opportunities, follow their dreams and tap into their courage to achieve and consolidate success. Back in his time, it was this very same vision that inspired Thierry Sabine to explore Africa with a group of pioneers, eventually culminating in the creation of the Dakar.
“Following 30 years of discoveries, fateful encounters and exploits, Etienne Lavigne rose to a new challenge when he took the rally across the Atlantic and brought Dakar fever to a new continent. Now, the time has come to set a new course and enter uncharted territory with the next destination of the Dakar and its competitors: Saudi Arabia.
“Africa, South America… and now Asia. The third chapter of its history is particularly fascinating and exciting for a race focused on exploration like the Dakar. I got to experience these shudders of anticipation myself 25 years ago, when I first rode into the Sahara with my hands on the handlebar.
“I am now embarking on a new adventure in the Middle East from the nerve centre of the organising teams. 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.
“Whatever their origins and whatever their objectives, all Dakar competitors and crews have one thing in common: their yearning to tread where no-one has ever tread before. Their audacity will show the way on the tracks and dunes of Saudi Arabia.”
A number of Dakar Rally drivers led by Nani Roma, Carlos Sainz and Sam Sunderland visit touristic and historical monuments in Riyadh before the start of the #Dakar2020KSA press conference. pic.twitter.com/IMmZ7GE465
— General Sports Authority (@gsaksa_en) April 25, 2019
— الهيئة العامة للرياضة (@gsaksa) April 25, 2019