The 2024 Dakar Rally, which will be held for the fifth consecutive time in Saudi Arabia from January 5 to 19, 2024, presented this Monday its route for the 46th edition of the event, the fifth in Saudi Arabia, which will begin in AlUla and end in Yanbu on the shores of the Red Sea, the “hardest” with the prominence of rocks, dunes and an incursion through the Empty Quarter desert with the surprise of a 48-hour marathon stage, as announced by the organization.

“We have set ourselves the challenge for the fifth edition in Saudi Arabia to design the toughest of the entire series,” explained during the presentation ceremony of the 46th edition the race director, David Castera, who confirmed that the pilots will travel between January 5 and 19, 7,891 km of road, tracks and dunes, with 4,727 of them special.

Among the main difficulties, the 354 participating vehicles will face an incursion into the Empty Quarter desert with an unprecedented 48-hour marathon stage format, divided into two days, which will disperse the competitors, practically autonomous, through eight different camps.

The organization revealed to the drivers and fans the route with “the most dunes in history”, responding to the demands of the participants, who demanded an “authentic” Dakar. Thus, in 2024 there will be a “tougher” race than in the 80s, in which drivers and teams will only have a few days before the start to enjoy the atmosphere of AlUla. The beginning of a giant camp will be repeated there after the experience of organizing the final verifications on the shores of the Red Sea last year.

A “three-star menu” for this Dakar 2024 designed by Castera that stands out for an “especially tough” first week with unprecedented volcanic landscapes and “large-scale and varied terrain” stages. On the third day the drivers will face a two-day marathon stage and at the end of the week comes the organization’s “surprise”, with that ’48h time trial’, which will be held over two days, with the final time set at 4:00 p.m. , at which time all vehicles must stop at the closest of the six rest areas provided in the special itinerary.

After this “test within the test” before the break in Riyadh, the second week offers all the ingredients for the fight for victory in the race to undergo relevant changes. There will be a mix between “extreme” stages and others of less intensity to favor these chases between candidates, in search of great time advantages, on the way to Al Duwadimi, to return to AlUla before reaching Yanbu.

For the last day to reach the final goal, Castera and his team have prepared the “most intense stage of the second week.” “Competitors will therefore have to bet high on the odd-numbered stages, without forgetting to always remain alert so as not to miss any of the navigational subtleties provided throughout this new Saudi epic,” highlighted the Dakar Rally.

In this 2024 edition, 354 vehicles will participate, divided between 137 motorcycles and 10 quads for the FIM and, in accordance with the new names adopted by the FIA, 72 cars in Ultimate (T1 and T2), 42 in Challenger (T3), 36 in SSV (T4) and 46 in Truck (T5, trucks). Furthermore, for the fourth edition of the Dakar Classic, open to 20th century vehicles, a route of 7,366 km is planned, including 3,586 km of timed sections.