We are only a month and a few away from the opening of the world’s most grueling rallies. On January 5, 2020, the 42nd edition of the Dakar Rally will kickstart in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This time around, the Dakar is going back to basics.
8,000 miles, 351 vehicles, 12 days: these are the big lines of the Dakar 2020. For this upcoming edition of the event, the rally is going back to its roots with long and extremely challenging stages through the desert. Not only will the terrain be more difficult to navigate, the Dakar Rally team is also preparing a more complex roadbook to add to the challenge.
The maps will also be handed to the racers shortly before the beginning of a stage to start every rider and driver on equal foot. Distributing the roadmaps ahead of time gave the bigger teams an advantage in the past which is something the organizers are looking to counteract. This rally will focus on skills rather than strength in numbers.
In fact, some portions of the route will bank on the participants’ navigational skills while others will promote physical and technical skills instead. The rules and regulations will be slightly altered to give rookies with the chops a chance to shine. A few-day stint through the Empty Quarter in southern Saudi Arabia will take the raiders through the sand dunes and will challenge them on every level. During that stage, the nights will be spent in tents, on the sand.
The goal is to make the Dakar great again and bring back the Golden Age of desert raids, back when winning the rally meant something more.
The rally will run from January 5 to 17, starting in Jeddah and ending in Qiddiyah. There will be a total of twelve stages and special stages, for a total of 8,015 miles through a variety of terrains and landscapes. For comparison, last year’s rally totaled 5,000 miles in Peru.
For 2020, 351 vehicles are entered which represents a 5-percent increase in the number of participants over last year. Out of that number, 147 are motorcycles including 2019’s winner, Toby Price entered with the KTM crew.