Dakar rally to put Saudi Arabia on world stage
- A new chapter in the history of the Dakar Rally will be written as the world's biggest rally makes its Middle East debut in Saudi Arabia
- The Dakar Rally is an annual rally raid organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation
- Most events since the inception in 1978 were from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal, but due to security threats in Mauritania, which led to the cancellation of the 2008 rally, races since 2009 have been held in South America
- Dakar Rally will make its Middle East debut in Saudi Arabia in 2020
Saudi Arabia will be home to the most illustrous motor racing event from 2020 after they signed a deal to host the Dakar Rally. For those new to the world of motor racing, the Dakar Rally is a BIG deal. The race has graced the motor racing calendar for close to half a century and has made a name for itself as one of the tougest races in the world. The Amaury Sport Organisation that organises the Dakar Rally has now signed a five-year deal with Saudi Arabia to host the event in the Kingdom.
years in Africa.
years in South America.
The third chapter in the history of Dakar Rally is opening now… moving to the Middle East.
Next Dakar will be held in Saudi Arabia
More details about this adventure will be announced on the 25th of April…#Dakar2020 pic.twitter.com/XDzhfvEbDW— DAKAR RALLY (@dakar) April 15, 2019
The Dakar has been held in South America since 2009 and the all-consuming multi-stage, multi-day rally was previously held in Africa but was relocated after terrorist threats in Mauritania in 2008. However according to AFP, Dakar director David Castera described the relocation to Saudi Arabia in a five-year deal as "a voyage into the unknown".
So why Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia can offer 1.4 million square miles of desert for the Dakar route and keep the race interesting across 900 kilometres.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, chairman of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority, said: "In hosting Dakar Rally we aim to produce an unbelievable and unforgettable experience fordrivers 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.”
According to Castera, Saudi Arabia will be fascinating.
"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."
42nd edition of the Dakar Rally, was up for grabs after the the entire rally was held in one country this year —Peru and according to Autosport, "economic uncertainty" drove the ASO to look to South Africa and the Middle East to host the rally.
Saudi Arabia is slowly butsurely making a name for itself of the world sporting stage. Saudi Arabia recently hosted a WWE fight, a Formula E race and the title fights for WBA super-middleweight and World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) in Jeddah, along with the European Tour's inaugural Saudi International in February.