After running for 30 years in North Africa and for the past decade in South America, the Dakar Rally is set to change locations once again for 2020, switching to the Middle East and the nation of Saudi Arabia.
“The vision and guidance of our leaders have made our dreams and ambitions limitless and have set the sports scene in the Kingdom on a remarkable success route,” said Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, chairman of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority, at the announcement of the move by the iconic rally-raid. “Our country is extremely passionate about sport and our strategic goal is to feed that appetite as we move further towards achieving Vision 2030, of which sport is a basic pillar.
“In hosting Dakar Rally we aim to produce an unbelievable and unforgettable experience for drivers as they discover the beauty of Saudi nature and a unique spectacle for motorsport fans not only in Saudi Arabia but also in the region and around the world.”
Rally director David Castera added: “Looking back at my first memories of the Dakar and my first experiences as a competitor, I’ve always considered that this rally like no other carried a concept of discovery, a voyage into the unknown. By going to Saudi Arabia, it is of course that aspect that fascinates me. I’m convinced that such a feeling will be shared by all the riders, drivers and copilots. As the director of the event, it’s a massive challenge to be faced with a blank page with limitless possibilities.
I’m already inspired and delighted to have to design a course in such a monumental geography, made for the most audacious itineraries. We are spoilled for choice. Sports, navigation, a will to surpass oneself: all these aspects will naturally be glorified on this territory made for rally-raids.”
Organizers said they would reveal more details of the intended route next week.