2020 Dakar Rally Saudi Arabia route details revealed 

New Super Marathon stage and pre-coloured road books spice up the 2020 Dakar Rally as the 2020 routes for Saudi Arabia are revealed at the Arab World Institute.

 

The details of the 2020 Dakar Rally route have been revealed this week at the Arab World Institute in Paris. Named Chapter III, this being the third time the rally changes continent, the riders will face 12 stages covering an overall distance close to 7900km with over 5000km of timed special stages with the first half taking riders through a labyrinth of navigation testing tracks before a second half goes deep into the Saudi Arabian dunes. 

“Super Marathon” stage and new coloured road books

Marathon stages, where no overnight assistance from crews is allowed, have been part of Dakar and World Rallies events for some time now but this year’s event will feature the new “Super marathon” stage to level the field among Pros and Amateurs. 

Upon arrival at the Neom bivouac, where the second stage of the event finishes, bike and quad riders will only be allowed 10 minutes of mechanical repair time. Previous marathon stages have seen race management issues, particularly in terms of tyre and mousse wear, so this new rule swill only add to that. 

 
Dakar 2020 map
 

As already happened at the Morocco Rally, the final round of the World Cross Country Rallies World Championship, Dakar will also see a new pre-coloured road book. For at least four stages the pre-marked road book will be handed in the morning at the start of the special stage, all but eliminating any preparatory work for the stage ahead which in turn levels the playing field for riders. The additional bonus for late arriving amateurs is an extra amount of time to focus on bike maintenance duties instead of road map marking. 

 
Dakar 2020 stage distances
 

The Route, tricky navigation and crossing the “Empty Quarter”

On January 5 the Dakar Rally will set off from the Jeddah, the second largest city in the country, with the riders racing through 12 stages to reach Qiddiyah where a 20km special section, with no impact on the overall raking, will select the winner of the Qiddiyah Trophy before the final podium. 

Before the rest day in Riyadh, on January 11, the riders will get their first taste of the challenging Saudi Arabian dunes offer and a chance to get ready for what the second half of the rally in the “Empty Quarter” has prepared for them. 

 
toby.price finish Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Dakar2019 560
 

Located in the far south of Saudi Arabia, where almost a quarter of the country remains largely uninhabited except for a handful of villages and oases, the immense and pristine “Empty Quarter” will challenge rider with dunes over 250 metres high one after the other in a vast distance. 

The organization claims the navigation will be key during the last three stages, Haradh - Shubaytah, Shubaytah - Haradh and Haradh Qiddiyah. Additionally, the marathon stage will be held between stages 10 and 11 giving the last part of the rally an extra difficulty and keeping every one of their toes. 

“Dakar Experience” ranking

In order to allow the less experienced riders to continue their learning process if anyone is forced to retire, except for medical reasons, they will be allowed to resume the race by joining the “Dakar Experience” ranking, awarding the unlucky amateurs to keep learning and gaining further experience to complete the rally in the future. 

This second chance will be awarded to every competitor in every class except for the ones included on the Elite List. 

 

 

More information: Dakar.com  

 

 
Photo Credit: Honda Racing/Marcin Kin
 
 
 
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Igor Aguado
Enduro21 Junior Editor
igor.aguado@enduro21.com