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Dakar Rally 2020 to Be Held in Saudi Arabia

Dakar Rally 2020 to Be Held in Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, 16 April, 2019 - 07:00
The 2020 Dakar Rally will be held in Saudi Arabia. (AFP)
Paris - Asharq Al-Awsat
The Dakar Rally, the world’s most challenging race, will be held in Saudi Arabia in 2020, organizers said on Monday.

The rally will move to the Middle East following ten years in South America.

"After 30 years of discovering the beauty of Africa and a decade of adventure exploring the spectacular landscape of South America, a new chapter in the history of Dakar will be written as the world's biggest rally makes its Middle East debut in Saudi Arabia," ASO said in a statement.

Dakar director David Castera described the relocation to Saudi Arabia as "a voyage into the unknown".

"By going to Saudi Arabia, it is of course that aspect that fascinates me," Castera said.

"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."

Castera said Saudi Arabia offered up "a monumental geography, made for the most audacious itineraries".

"We are spoilt for choice. Sports, navigation, a will to surpass oneself: all these aspects will naturally be glorified on this territory made for rally-raids."

Saudi Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, chairman of the Saudi General Sports Authority, said that the Kingdom’s hosting of the rally is a product of the massive support by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, to the Saudi sports sector.

The rally will be a huge global event and the Kingdom’s command is keen on ensuring that it will be an outstanding success, he added.

“Our country is passionate about sports and our strategic goal is to meet this passion to move forward in achieving Vision 2030,” he stressed.

As part of this vision, Saudi Arabia has hosted a series of major global sports events, such as the Italian Super Cup and a Formula E race.

More details about Saudi Arabia’s hosting of the Dakar Rally will be announced on April 25.

The Dakar started in 1977 as a race from Paris and across the Sahara desert to the Senegalese capital in West Africa and has long been regarded as the world’s toughest motorsport challenge.

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