DUBAI: The Dakar Rally 2022 will take place across the deserts of Saudi Arabia between January 2 and 14, it was announced by Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) and the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) during a virtual presentation on Tuesday evening. .
“Welcome for the third time to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, birthplace of the Dakar, the most famous and most difficult rally in the world,” said Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al Abdullah Al-Faisal, president of SAMF. “Thanks first and foremost to our wise leadership, the advice of His Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the goal of his Vision 2030, the Kingdom was able to attract and host the Dakar Rally for the first time in 2020. , after many years. when he moved between Africa and South America. “
David Castera, Dakar director, spoke about the main points regarding the 44th edition of the race, which included the starting, finishing and resting cities, in addition to the number of stages that the competitors will have to face in January 2022.
He also spoke of the difficulties of organizing the gathering in the midst of a pandemic.
“The Dakar 2021 was complicated to organize,” said Castera. “In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), Dakar was one of the few major events that took place at the start of the year. All thanks to Saudi Arabia, ”he said. “To all the Saudis who mobilized with us so that the Dakar could take place, this Dakar allowed you to discover new tracks, new deserts, new dunes and all of this gave us a pretty incredible spectacle. From the suspense in the bike race until the last days when we didn’t know who would win. In motor racing too, up to two or three stages from the finish, it was very tight.
The 2021 edition of the race produced 2,300 hours of TV action that aired in more than 190 countries, 4.5 million of which are also following on social media.
The Dakar 2022 promises new and unexplored routes.
“It will be an edition with a taste of sand, a taste of dunes and wide open spaces,” said Castera. We will head south towards the empty quarter. We got a first taste of it in 2020, but this time we will go deep into the empty neighborhood and its ocean of dunes.
May 17th will see the opening of registrations for the race, with the announcement of the route at the end of November. The vehicles will be embarked at the port of Marseille in the second week of December and will arrive in Jeddah on December 26 and 28.
On December 31 and January 1, scrutineering will take place in Ha’il.
“Ha’il will be the starting city for this 2022 edition, where all technical and administrative checks will take place as well as the shakedown,” Castera said. “This year there will be three for all three categories – motorcycles, cars and trucks. Then a prologue on January 1, and the real start of this Dakar will take place on January 2 in the morning and will head south towards the empty district.
“We will have three stages with 100% sand and dunes, including a marathon stage in the middle of the dunes, like in the good old days,” he added. “And then comes a novelty – we will go to Riyadh for a day off. During this rest day, there will be transfer of vehicles that will be mounted on trucks and transfer of competitors to planes. “
The second week will feature four fairly difficult stages and, according to Castera, a lot of navigation and more dunes.
“We have based this Dakar mainly on sand and dunes,” he said. “Once you’ve cleared all of these hurdles, you’ll arrive in the city of Jeddah, which will host the podium ceremony before the vehicles board the ship back to Europe.”
The director also confirmed that the second edition of the Dakar Classic will take place after its launch last year.
“The Dakar Classic was born last January for its first edition,” he declared. “We wanted to pay tribute to the pioneers of the Dakar, to its founder Thierry Sabine. It was a way for all of us to see these cars that made us dream of the 80s and 90s. I can already tell you that we have more than 60 crews waiting to take part in an edition which promises to be fantastic. “
Prince Khalid also said preparations from SAMF and the organizers will ensure a spectacular viewing for motorsport fans.
“Today, as we move closer to hosting the rally for the third year in a row, we are focused on the future as we invoke the vast experience we have gained over the past two years, to organize another exciting edition of the Dakar Rally, “he said.
“We are fortunate to have magnificent landscapes that few countries can match. This varied and difficult terrain is the ideal location for the Dakar rally.
“One of the peculiarities of the Dakar Rally is that it presents visitors and spectators with the true essence of our nation, with its tolerant culture, striking landscapes and welcoming people.