RIYADH — The Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) and the Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) released details of Dakar 2022 at a virtual press conference on Tuesday evening.
The 44th edition of the world’s most famous cross-country rally will run from Jan. 2-14, 2022 and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will host the entire event for a third successive year.
The conference was attended by Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the board of directors of the SAMF, and David Castera director of the Dakar.
Dakar 2022 will start from the city of Hail in north-central Saudi Arabia and feature a more southerly and sandy route than the last two years, with the rest day moving to the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah hosting the finish ceremony.
The route will head in a southeasterly direction from Hail and into the Kingdom’s vast Empty Quarter, which is larger than the entire country of France. Sand dunes will be prevalent and average speeds on the more technical special stages will be reduced.
Castera confirmed that there would be at least three special stages exclusively in the dunes with the emphasis firmly on navigation and less risk of punctures than on the rockier stages in the north.
An electronic road book will be used for competitors in the car, SSV and truck categories and a version will also be available for elite riders in the motorcycle and quad sections.
Castera talked about the successes of the first two years of the Dakar Rally in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and outlined key statistics from the event in January.
He also highlighted feedback from competitors on the 2021 event and discussed the successes of the inaugural Dakar Classic.
He outlined work being carried out to further promote safety and security and touched on speed limitations, air bag technology and helmet safety.
Prince Khalid said: “Today, we stand on the verge of hosting the event for a third successive year..
“We are proud of our previous achievements and our focus is now firmly on the future.
“We will call upon the extensive experience we have gained over the last two years to arrange another unparalleled edition of the Dakar Rally that we are confident will live up to the expectations of global motor sport fans and supporters of the Dakar Rally.”
The 2022 edition will also see the start of an ambitious program to see a field of cars powered solely by alternative energies become the norm by 2030.
The transition will start with the introduction of a T1-E category for low-carbon emission prototypes. Constructors are developing cars for the future and Audi plans to enter the category in 2022.
Rally officials will run the Dakar Classic for a second successive season. Revisions have been made to the regulations for a discipline that fascinated global television audiences in January 2021.
Regularity will not be the only evaluation criteria and accurate navigation will also be assessed for at least one fifth of the route
Further route details will be announced in November. The Dakar caravan is scheduled to leave the southern French port of Marseille during the second week of December to arrive in plenty of time for the New Year start.
Entry registrations open on Monday, May 17. — SG
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