Saudi Arabia Unveils Dakar Rally 2020 Route

Thursday, 25 April, 2019 - 19:00
Asharq Al-Awsat

Saudi Arabia unveiled on Thursday the route of the prestigious Dakar Rally, which it will host in 2020.

Speaking at a ceremony at al-Qiddiya to mark the event, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, Chairman of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority, said: “The vision and guidance of our leaders have made our dreams and ambitions limitless and have set the sports scene in the Kingdom on a remarkable success route.”

“We are thrilled that Rally Dakar, an event with a huge global appeal, is coming to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East for the first time. Our country is extremely passionate about sports, especially motorsports, and our strategic goal is to feed that appetite as we move further towards achieving Vision 2030, of which sport is a key pillar.”

The 9,000-kilometer race will start in Jeddah on January 2 and conclude in al-Qiddiya on January 17. It will pass through several cities, such as Madinah, Tabuk and Hail and include a rest day in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia will become the 30th country crossed by the Dakar since 1978. The competitors will face challenges such as the Empty Quarter, a pristine expanse that has never been explored before.

“In hosting Dakar Rally, we aim to produce an unbelievable and unforgettable experience for drivers as they discover the beauty of Saudi nature and a unique spectacle for motorsport fans not only in the country but also in the region and around the world,” continued Prince Abdulaziz.

“Saudi Dakar 2020 will be a journey through breath-taking scenery, unknown landscapes, unexpected challenges, untold stories and unbelievable memories... Dakar is more than just a race, it is a strong message of openness and welcoming that the Kingdom wants to send to the world through sports, tourism and culture,” he stressed.

David Castera, Director of the Dakar, said: “Every once in a while, all the signs indicate that we are on the verge of turning a new page of history. The book of the Dakar tells the story of all these characters who had the chance and talent to live multiple lives in one. It often compelled them to jump on opportunities, follow their dreams and tap into their courage to achieve and consolidate success.”

“The time has come to set a new course and enter uncharted territory with the next destination of the Dakar and its competitors: Saudi Arabia. Africa, South America… and now Asia. The third chapter of its history is particularly fascinating and exciting for a race focused on exploration like the Dakar.”

“I am now embarking on a new adventure in the Middle East from the nerve center of the organizing teams. Here, in the largest state in the region, we can let our imagination run riot with the infinite possibilities for a tough, balanced and varied course.”

“The sporting challenge that we are putting together for the 42nd edition will tap the full potential of this vast country and its mosaic of deserts, mountains, canyons, valleys and coastal landscapes. Whatever their origins and whatever their objectives, all Dakar competitors and crews have one thing in common: their yearning to tread where no-one has ever tread before. Their audacity will show the way on the tracks and dunes of Saudi Arabia.”

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