The Dakar 2024 rally has raised the curtain with its international presentation, in which David Castera, the race director, has advanced the organization's intentions for the fifth edition in Saudi Arabia: it will be the toughest Dakar, with more dunes and with more adventure.
"We have set ourselves the challenge for the fifth edition in Saudi Arabia to design the toughest of the entire series," commented the Frenchman when presenting the 46th edition of the most legendary rally-raid, which will start on January 5 and end on the 19th. , after 7,891 km of road, tracks and dunes, of which, 4,727 km of timed special.
The 2024 Dakar, like the previous four in Saudi territory (the first was in 2020), will combine rock and dune routes, although with a very special "surprise": there will be a 48-hour marathon stage in the Empty Quarter ( the Empty Room, the most extreme and inhospitable area in the Saudi desert), in which the participants will be dispersed across eight different camps, where they will sleep in tents.
In the 2024 edition, competitors will be included in five categories: cars, motorcycles, trucks, Challenger (T3) and SSV (T4). Initially there are 354 vehicles registered.
The Dakar 2024 will start in Al Ula on January 5 with a prologue stage and will end in Yanbu, on the shores of the Red Sea, on the 19th, after 12 stages and a rest day (January 13).
The first stage announces more than 530 timed km, one hundred more than the second, in which the dunes will become the protagonists.
The wildest stage will come on the sixth day as the caravan enters the Empty Quarter. According to Castera, it will mean “a reminiscence of African epics”, with endless days and the aforementioned 48-hour marathon stage through the dunes.
"This stage adds a little more salt and pepper to the competition; it will be one of the stellar stages," commented Carlos Sainz, who in the previous edition had to withdraw due to injuries to his vertebrae following a serious accident. The Madrid native will participate for the third year with Audi, in a hybrid vehicle.
In the second week, the dunes will alternate with the rocks, in stages around Al Ula and Yanbu, where the rally will end.