JEDDAH: Preparations are underway for the Dakar Rally’s Saudi Arabia 2021 edition, with the final touches being organized and new routes included.
Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Arabia Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) briefed Qassim’s Gov. Prince Faisal bin Mishal bin Abdul Aziz about the new route that will pass through the region.
SAMF provided a visual presentation highlighting some of 2020’s most notable numbers, as well as the federation’s plan to organize the race for the second time in the Kingdom, and the protocols and health precautions adopted to combat the coronavirus disease.
Concerning the preparations to host Dakar Saudi Arabia 2021, Prince Khalid said: “We are steadily preparing for a special edition of the Dakar Rally. We have now started the final phases of preparations, and we have full confidence in the Kingdom’s capabilities — with its wise leadership, government and diverse authorities — to make the best out of this event.
“We are working along with the concerned government authorities to implement the health and precautionary protocols and ensure an event that is safe for participants and organizers, in order to enable competitors to focus on the race and to present to the public the very exciting experience that we have been used to at Dakar Saudi Arabia,” he added.
The second edition of the Saudi race will kick off in Jeddah on Jan. 3, 2021. It will stop for a day of rest in Hail on Jan. 9 before reaching the finish line in Jeddah, ending on Jan. 15.
For the first time in the event’s 40 year history, Saudi Arabia hosted the rally, the first ever outside the continents of Africa and South America, in 2020.
As Saudi Arabia continues to make way for more sporting events to be held in the Kingdom, Dakar 2021 will serve as another achievement in the Kingdom’s capabilities in hosting major global events.
The new route for the 2021 edition will be completely different from the first.
For the first time in the race’s history, a sixth category has also been added.
The “classic” category will allow vintage cars and trucks that participated in previous Paris-Dakar races in the 1980s and 1990s.
In the first edition, 563 contestants from 68 countries competed in five categories, and raced across the Kingdom for 13 days, covering a total distance of 7,500 km.