Organisers of the 46th edition of the most famous off-road race - the Dakar Rally - today officially announced the brand-new route for the 2024 Dakar Rally.
Amaury Sporting Organisation (ASO) and the Saudi Motorsport Company (SMC) – organisers of the 46th edition of the Dakar Rally – officially announced the brand-new route for the 2024 Dakar Rally, the world’s most famous endurance race. 2024 will mark the fifth consecutive time the Dakar Rally has been staged in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
1 Prologue, 12 Stages, 14 Days Of Racing
Held between January 5th and January 19th, the Dakar in Saudi Arabia 2024 will encompass a distance of 7,974 km over 12 stages, competing across the Kingdom’s challenging terrain, with 60 percent of the route covering completely new territory. The race will also mark the first round of the 2024 FIA-FIM World Rally-Raid Championship season.
The iconic rally will kick off with the Prologue stage on January 5th at historical AlUla, home to Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Hegra archaeological site located here features monumental tombs, sandstone outcrops, historic dwellings, and monuments – both natural and human-made – that hold 200,000 years of largely unexplored human history.
Competitors will then traverse approximately 5000 kilometres of timed special stages across the vast and varied landscapes of Saudi Arabia, criss-crossing from West to East, via Al Henakiyah, Al Duwadimi as well as Al Salamiya and Al-Hofuf down to the magnificent Empty Quarter in the Eastern Province before changing direction back up North to Riyadh for the Rest Day on January 13th. The rally will resume on January 14th as the route weaves its way further north to Hail before returning to AlUla and ultimately finishing 14 days of unrivalled endurance racing and competition on the shores of the stunning Red Sea in the City of Yanbu. It is here that the Champions will be crowned in the different categories.
New Stage: The 48-Hours Chrono Stage
The organisers of the Dakar Rally 2024 also announced the introduction of the new 48-Hour Chrono Stage where contenders will compete over the course of two days in the Empty Quarter with marathon stage restrictions. During this special period, there will be no choice of canteen or repair companions, as the drivers and crews will be spread out over eight different bivouacs. However, competitors will be permitted to help each other during the evening.
All vehicles will be required to stop at the next bivouac they come across when the clock strikes 4pm. There will be no connection and therefore no visibility of their opponents’ performance during this phase. Competitors will camp and start out again at 7am the following morning to complete the remaining section of the route. The tally will be counted after around 600 kilometres of the special stage.
Empty Quarter: Two Special Days
This editions’ Empty Quarter experience with the 48-Hours Chrono Stage will be a unique adventure and a very different challenge for the competitors compared to previous years.
Furthermore, the vast desert terrains of the Empty Quarter will feature two separate tracks, one for cars and trucks and another for motorbikes and quads, meaning that the top FIA teams won’t benefit from tracks created by the bikes and will have to navigate based on their talent. This will make successfully crossing this remarkable landscape more challenging than ever before.
Moreover, the system of ‘bonuses’ awarded to motorbike stage openers introduced in the previous edition will be, exceptionally, retained.
Newly Introduced FIA Category Terminology
In addition to the format amendments for the Dakar in Saudi 2024, the FIA has introduced new names for the different vehicle categories as per below:
Category T1 Þ Ultimate
Category T2 Þ Stock
Category T3 Þ Challenger
Category T4 Þ SSV
Category T5 Þ Truck
HRH Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, Chairman of the Saudi Motorsport Company (SMC) and Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) welcomed the announcement of the route for the 5th edition of the Dakar in Saudi Arabia: “I am thrilled to welcome the world’s best rally drivers to Saudi Arabia once again to take on the most prestigious and challenging endurance race on the planet. It is a source of immense pride for us to host this iconic event for the fifth consecutive time, a testament to the Kingdom’s ability to stage such major events and further confirmation of Saudi Arabia as a major motorsport hub in keeping with the objectives of Vision 2030. It gives me great pleasure that we can finally share the locations of the 12 stages, which will lead the contestants through new, untapped territory which showcases the Kingdom’s stunning natural beauty and variety. The route comes with real challenges and requires skilful navigation but I have no doubt that the competitors will relish every second of their experience.”
The Dakar Rally is one of the most popular, esteemed, and respected events on the international motorsport calendar. For over four and a half decades, this iconic event has travelled far and wide across the globe: From 1979 to 2007, rallies took competitors across Europe to cross the finish line in Africa; it then moved to South America from 2009 to 2019; before landing in its current home in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2020.
DAKAR SAUDI ARABIA 2024 ROUTE OVERVIEW
Prologue (Fri 5th Jan): Al-Ula – Al-Ula (157 km)
Stage 1 (Sat 6 th Jan): Al-Ula – Al Henakiyah (532 km)
Stage 2 (Sun 7 th Jan): Al Henakiyah – Al Duwadimi (662 km)
Stage 3 (Mon 8 th Jan): Al Duwadimi – Al Salamiya (733 km)
Stage 4 (Tues 9 th Jan): Al Salamiya – Al Hofuf (631 km)
Stage 5 (Wed 10 th Jan): Al Hofuf – Shubaytah (727 km)
Stage 6 (Thu 11 th Jan): Shubaytah – Shubaytah (818 km)
REST DAY (Sat 13 th Jan): Riyadh
Stage 7 (Sun 14 th Jan): Riyadh – Al Duwadimi (873 km)
Stage 8 (Mon 15th Jan): Al Duwadimi – Ha’il (678 km)
Stage 9 (Tues 16 th Jan): Ha’il – Al-Ula (639 km)
Stage 10 (Wed 17 th Jan): Al-Ula – Al-Ula (609 km)
Stage 11 (Thurs 18 th Jan): Al-Ula – Yanbu (587 km)
Stage 12 (Fri 19 Jan): Yanbu – Yanbu (328 km)