The much-anticipated Dakar Saudi Arabia 2024 is already making waves as Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) released an official document providing a glimpse into the upcoming rally raid and its exciting novelties. While more details will be unveiled at the live meeting organized by Edo Mossi in Turin, the initial message from ASO sheds light on what we can expect.
For dates, Dakar Saudi Arabia 2024 has been pushed back a bit. Races will start on January 5, 2024, and reach the finish line on January 19, 2024. The rally will commence from AlUla, and culminate in Yanbu. Notably, this year's starting point features the impressive mega-bivouac Sea Camp, situated amidst the ancient rocks of the Nabatean temples, adding a unique touch to the experience. As for the details, or rather, more of the specific stuff, ASO has yet to release more information, so there’s more to look forward to in the future.
We’ll get 12 stages spanning 14 days of intense competition. The route, promising 60 percent new terrain, will take competitors on a double crossing covering 5,000 kilometers (3106 miles), and lead them back to the Red Sea. In addition, fans may still expect the race to be held in Saudi Arabia for future editions, thanks to a contract renewal with the peninsula.
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The exact course remains unsure at this point, however, the Empty Quarter will feature prominently in the race. This formidable desert, which proved less challenging than expected last year, will offer two special stages amidst its vast dunes. ASO has also announced the introduction of the 48H Chrono. While specifics are still under wraps, this concept refers to the original rallies pioneered by Jean-Claude Bertrand and Thierry Sabine.
Participants need to reach an objective and be given a maximum of 48 hours to get it. At 16:00 hours, the race is stopped until the following morning at 07:00 hours. Reminiscent of the early days of rallies, where participants found rest wherever they arrived and swiftly moved on, modern adaptations will include eight designated bivouacs along the route, allowing competitors to reach the nearest one within the allocated time. It's akin to being directed to the nearest DMV when your vehicle's MOT is due. At these mini-bivouacs, participants will be surrounded by others who are either equally fast or slow.
Additionally, ASO emphasized differentiated routes for motorcycles and cars, placing increased importance on navigation skills. They also celebrate the success of the Dakar Classic, a recent addition that has captured the imagination of participants and fans alike.