“The toughest challenge in motorsport,” Dakar Rally, is set to return to Saudi Arabia in January 2022, according to a Wednesday press release that highlights the planning process and what participants can expect.
The upcoming Dakar Rally, which will be the race’s 44th edition, will take place for the third time in the Kingdom starting January 1, 2022, beginning in Saudi Arabia’s Ha’il before taking competitors to Riyadh, and concluding the race in Jeddah on January 14.
Dubbed as one of the world’s biggest sporting competitions, the rally’s organizers start planning months ahead to ensure it is a “challenging, yet safe” rally raid.
“Considered the toughest challenge in motorsport, the Dakar Rally features a host of talented athletes traversing terrain in either motorbikes, quads, cars, UTVs, or truck,” the press release read.
Dakar Rally planning
The planning process involves studying the vehicles that will enter the race, drafting the Dakar Rally route, where location and terrain are considered.
Planning is spearheaded by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation.
“When it comes to exploration, organizers set out onto the potential routes, roaming the deserts of Saudi Arabia for approximately 24 days, during which they study the 12 stages of the rally accurately. Each stage takes around two days to assess,” according to the release.
The release said the rally’s terrain is inspected to ensure that the vehicles involved can navigate safely, while ensuring any natural or archaeological structures are not damaged in the race.
Created in 1977, the Dakar Rally was raced across Africa until terror threats in Mauritania led organizers to cancel the 2008 edition. The rally was then held in South America.
In 2019, it was announced that Saudi Arabia will host the 2020 race.