The first details have been revealed for the 44th edition of the Dakar Rally which will run from Ha'il and to Jeddah via Riyadh between January 2-14, 2022 – “dunes galore” promised on the 80% new route.

It’s true to say the 2021 Dakar Rally was a classic. Despite the pandemic, the race went ahead and it turned out to be one of the best with drama (major mechanicals, crashes), a full-on fight for the win between the Honda and KTM teams plus a super-close finish and a new winner in Kevin Benavides.

In an online presentation from the Andalucia Rally taking place in Spain this week, the Dakar Race Director David Castera revealed the first details of what we might expect from next year's Dakar Rally making its third visit to Saudi Arabia.

Here's what we learned today – 2022 Dakar Rally details:

  • December 26-28 vehicles arrive by boat in Jeddah
  • Scrutineering (from December 31), opening ceremony and prologue in Ha’il on January 1
  • Stage one on January 2 immediately heads south towards the “empty quarter”
  • Sand stages feature heavily with one marathon stage in the dunes in the first week
  • Three stages 100% sand dunes
  • 80% new tracks across the 14 days racing
  • Each week separated into two loops around a rest day in the capital, Riyadh on January 8
  • Rest day will also be a transfer day where bikes are trucked (competitors will fly) to the next stage start
  • Week 2 will re-enforce the event as a sandy one and won't be easy
  • Rally finish and final podiums on January 14 in Jeddah
  • Electronic roadbooks used for Elite riders
  • All riders to remain equipped with airbags
  • May 17 registrations open (ends in October)
  • End of November full course details announced
  • Early December vehicles board containers in Marseille for shipment to Jeddah
  • ‘Road to Dakar’ qualification events in Sonora, Andalucia (both taking place this week) plus races in South Africa and the Morocco Rally later in the year to act as routes to the Saudi for rookies.

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