The 46th edition of the Dakar Rally will start on 5 January, with a route entirely in Saudi Arabia.
This will be the fifth time that the event will be held in the Arab country, and it is shaping up to be the most demanding to date with a total of 12 special stages plus the Prologue that will open the action.
This year's novelty is the 48-hour challenge in what will be a 584-kilometre timed marathon.
A particular peculiarity in this is that competitors will start in the morning, stop in the evening and resume their march the following day.
On this stage, drivers will have to stop at the next bivouac they come across after the clock strikes 4pm local time before setting off at 7am the next morning.
The total distance is 7,891 kilometres, of which 4,727 kilometres will be under the pressure of the stopwatch.
Al-Ula will host the Prologue that will serve to dictate the starting order, so those 27 kilometres will be vital to tackle a first week that rally director David Castera has described as "very tough".
The first of the special stages will take the drivers from the town where it all starts to Al Henakiyah, before heading towards Al Duwadimi. However, complications will continue on the section that connects this town to the next bivouac at Al Salamiya.
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
Lucas Moraes, Toyota Gazoo Racing
From there, the competitors will set off for Al-Hofuf, in a stage that is somewhat shorter than the rest, but features a long liaison section.
Once these first five stages are completed, it will be time for the 48-hour challenge.
Once in Riyadh competitors will have time to recharge their batteries ahead of the second week, which will start strong with a long drive to, once again, Al Duwadimi, then on to Ha'il and back to the starting point in Al-Ula.
From there, the drivers will have to complete another loop before making their way to the final destination in Yanbu.
The finishing line will be crossed after a final 175-kilometre stage which loops the coastal town on 19 January, with the winner of the Touareg Trophy crowned.
In total, 778 competitors, including drivers and teams, will battle it out in 137 bikes, 153 cars in all categories, 46 trucks, 10 quads, 80 classics and 10 Dakar Future vehicles.2023-11-20T14:37:46Z dg43tfdfdgfd