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Amaury Sport Organisation, the organisers of the Dakar Rally have revealed the route for the 2020 edition of the world's toughest off-roading race. The 2020 Dakar Rally will take place in Saudi Arabia and riders and drivers will travel over 9,000 kilometers across the largest nation in the Middle East (by area) in 12 days which includes a single day of rest in the capital city of Riyadh.
The 2020 Dakar Rally will start in the western port city of Jeddah, which lies just an hour's drive west of the Muslim holy city of Mecca, on the 5th of January, 2020. From Jeddah, the Rally will head north before then turning southeast towards the Saudi capital of Riyadh which will be where riders will get a rest day on the 11th of January.
From Riyadh, riders will head South into the Rub' al Khali (Empty Quarter) desert, the largest contiguous sand desert in the world, before heading west across the south of the country before heading north east towards Al-Qiddiya, 40 kilometers west of Riyadh, which will be the end point for the rally on the 17th of January. While most stages will feature sand dunes, some of the opening rounds will feature mountains and a few WRC style rally stages.
Speaking about the new route, Davd Castera, the director of the Dakar Rally said, 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."