In January of this year, the renowned Dakar Rally took to the magnificent and diverse terrain of Saudi Arabia for its 42nd edition, bringing the world’s top amateur and professional racers together to compete. Only six months later and news has just come out that the next edition scheduled in 2021 will also be held in Saudi Arabia, with details of the course layout released this week.
The Kingdom’s Ministry of Sports announced during an online press conference that the 12-day marathon is scheduled to run from January 3 until January 15, starting and finishing in Jeddah and once again exposing riders to one of the globe’s most uncharted terrains in the history of the sport. The announcement was made in the presence of Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Sports, and Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, President of Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation.
The 2021 edition is set to have timed sections of the loop course that are new to the race. Rally participants will begin their journey from Jeddah towards the east of the Kingdom and then head north, taking a rest day in Ha'il on the 9th of January, before finally tracing the Red Sea coastline to the finish line. In addition, it has been announced that new safety measures will be introduced in the next edition of the race, following the death of two motorcyclists in this year’s edition, Paulo Goncalves and Edwin Straver.
Founded by Thierry Sabine in 1978 and considered motor sport’s ultimate endurance race, the Dakar Rally has been the ultimate off-road sport for adventure seekers for four decades. Before 2020, the much-anticipated competition has been running annually across the globe and, last year, for the first time ever, it made its way to the Arabian Peninsula, taking place in Saudi Arabia.