After three decades of challenges through Africa and 10 years of exploring the landscape of South America the Dakar Rally moves for the first time to Asia with the inaugural Dakar Saudi Arabia Rally on January 5.
Renown as one of the most challenging motorsports events on the planet, the Dakar Rally brings together the best drivers and their specially modified cars, trucks, quads, SxS and motorbikes to test their skills over 10 stages of challenging desert terrain throughout the Kingdom.
The race route starts in Jeddah before moving along the red sea coastline, through challenging sand dunes and breath-taking landscapes, passing the Red Sea Project, a mega tourism project, involving 90 islands, as well as desert and mountain terrains in Qiddiya.
The contestants will then reach the city of Neom in the northwest of Saudi Arabia; a $500 billion (Dh1.8 trillion) tourism and hospitality project covering a total area of 26,500 kilometres and spreading 460 km along the coast of the Red Sea. Neom is designed to incorporate smart city technologies and an economic zone powered completely by renewable energy sources.
A single rest day is scheduled in Riyadh, the capital and largest city in Saudi Arabia.
As well as hosting the world's premier off-road race, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, chairman of the Saudi General Sports Authority, said the Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 will give visitors a chance to enjoy all the splendor the Kingdom has to offer.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
According to Prince Khalid bin Sultan Abdullah Al Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, the Kingdom boasts a number of unique and challenging desert terrains, where contestants will have to manoeuvre their way through the daunting, yet breathtaking, landscapes.
“We promise contestants new challenges, including stages in the vast, majestic and mysterious desert of the Empty Quarter. Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 will be an off-road racing adventure like never before.”