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Dakar Rally lands in Saudi Arabia

Every year for 40 years, 500 amateur or professional adventurers have gathered for 15 days for an extreme and unique competition: the Dakar Rally. From 2020, this legendary 10-stage orienteering race will write a new page in its history in Saudi Arabia, the new host country.

After the African continent and then South America, it is the turn of the Arabian Peninsula to host the famous Dakar Rally. The new race director, David Castera, announced the signing of a five-year agreement with Saudi Arabia, which will be the new host country of the Dakar rally starting 2020.

The famous 10-stage rally-raid is known to have taken place in the most beautiful deserts on the planet. On motorcycles, quad bikes, trucks or cars, every year for the past 40 years, 500 amateur or professional adventurers have embarked for a 15-day race on this competition, which has become an iconic race in the world of motor sport.

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Saudi Arabia, the safe host

Created in 1978 by French rally driver Thierry Sabine under the name of Paris-Dakar, the Dakar has had the African desert as its playground for 29 years. In 2009, the security situation in Africa prompted Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), the historic organiser of the race, to move the competition to South America.

Today, it is the economic uncertainties in Latin America that are forcing ASO to relocate the competition to the Middle East. The 2019 edition of the Dakar was the first in history to take place in only one country, Peru, after the failure of negotiations with Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador. The choice of Saudi Arabia as host of the next five editions is not insignificant: the country has been stepping up its efforts to open up over the past three years, notably by hosting international sporting events such as, recently, the Italian Super Cup in 2019, as well as a Formula E Grand Prix.

Published on 10 April 2019

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