The next edition of the gruesome Dakar Rally will move to Saudi Arabia for the first time. The rally-raid championship will commence on January 5 in Jeddah, the second-largest city in the country, before concluding on January 17 in Al-Qiddiya. The 2020 season will span over 12 stages and over 9,000 kilometres.
The terrain in Saudi Arabia will mostly be the challenging sand dunes across the Rub-al-Khali desert. But the initial stages are set with WRC-style tracks and mountainous terrain, as well. A rest day is planned for January 11 in the city of Riyadh.
Commentating on the 2020 Dakar season, David Castera, rally director, said, "For a born explorer like the Dakar, a fascinating and exciting third chapter begins. In the most extensive country of the [Middle East] region, the possibilities to create a demanding, balanced and varied route are practically endless. There is no doubt that the sporting challenge that we are building for the new edition will reflect the freedom of creation given to us by this gigantic territory that combines deserts, mountains, canyons, valleys and even coastal areas”.
After hosting the 42nd season, Saudi Arabia will be the venue for the legendary Dakar for the next five years, as well. We can also expect other neighbouring countries to join in the coming seasons.