Dakar 2021: Anticipation rises as initial information released

Dakar 2021: Anticipation rises as initial information released

  • Saudi Arabia to host iconic rally again from 3rd to 15th of January 2021
  • Roadbook rules tightened further

As it did last January, Saudi Arabia will again be the sole host of the Dakar Rally in 2021. Many drivers were impressed by the Saudi Arabian landscape earlier this year, which reminded them of past Dakar rallies in Africa. The rally will start and finish in the port of Jeddah, while the participants will spend their rest day in Ha‘il.

While these cities did feature when the Dakar made its debut in Saudi Arabia, the organisers, the Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.), have revealed that entrants can look forward to tackling new routes in 2021. Dakar director David Castera also announced that the average speed will be reduced. Excessive speeds, particularly in the second week, were the subject of much criticism after last year’s race.

In contrast, the roadbook regulations introduced for the Dakar 2020 were well received by the majority of co-drivers: on half of the legs, navigation aid was only available minutes before the start. However, any last-minute changes had already been incorporated in the roadbook and notes were presented in colour. Next year, the roadbook will only be distributed on the morning of each leg. Some categories will receive digital roadbooks, meaning co-drivers will no longer be able to make notes. In order to make the race safer, an audible signal will warn drivers of dangerous spots.

How many cars and which drivers will line up for X-raid at the Dakar 2021 is yet to be confirmed. The focus is currently on the resumption of this season, which is scheduled for the beginning of September (Baja Poland).

X-raid team manager Sven Quandt: “As we were for the last Dakar, we will be racing in Saudi Arabia again next year. We are now somewhat familiar with the landscape, but I am sure that the scenery will be just as impressive and beautiful again in 2021. Saudi Arabia is a fascinating country and the changes to the regulations are very promising. Always issuing the roadbook in the morning of each leg is a great idea. The safety measures for the motorcycles are also a positive step. We are really looking forward to the Dakar 2021.”