New twists and turns expected for Dakar Rally 2024

New twists and turns expected for Dakar Rally 2024

Buckle up! The Dakar Rally is set to return to the region in January 2024, with more exciting twists on the exhilarating desert race
05 June 23
AlUla Start Point Dakkar Rally 2024 Image source: Instagram: Dakkar Rally

The Dakar Rally 2024 has been officially announced to commence from the historic city of AlUla, marking a return to the race's original starting point. During the inaugural edition of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia in 2020, participants were introduced to the captivating wonders of AlUla region.

Over 14 days, rally participants in an array of vehicles such as cars, bikes, quads and trucks, will cover 5,000 kilometres and report at twelve different check in points.

The initial twist in the 2024 edition, will be that just 100 people will be able to participate in the race. Within this number of 100 competitors, ten spaces will be dedicated to those using alternative and more sustainable forms of energy.

In 2023, 184 participants took part, so this cap is interesting and unprecedented.

Scheduled to take place from January 5 to January 19 2024, the fifth edition of the rally in Saudi Arabia will begin in AlUla, and participants will travel across the country towards the Empty Quarter, and the race will loop back to the west of the country and finish in Yanbu on the Red Sea coast.

The starting camp will be positioned near the majestic temples constructed by the Nabataeans, this setting serves as an ideal way for participants to embrace the spirit of adventure and exploration before embarking on the challenging journey spanning thousands of kilometres.

"The challenge will be just as daunting as last January": Race director, David Castera warns that the challenge will be as daunting as it was in the previous year. Participants can expect extensive stretches of sand dunes which are likely to pose navigation difficulties alongside technical hurdles - 60% of the race will take place through areas that have not been included in the race before.

Although sandy stretches and sand dunes are to be expected, there will be some new twists and challenged in the 2024 edition of the Dakar Rally.

From January 11 to 12, a brand new stage has been introduced: the 48 hour ‘Chrono Stage’. Spanning almost 600 kilometres through the Empty Quarter, this new stage will feature two distinctly different race paths for cars/trucks and motorcycles/quads, and all racing will halt at 4pm local time. Racers must check in at their closest 'bivouac' or check in camp, based on their location along the route come 4pm. On this 600km stretch there will be 8 check in stops.

However, there will be no service connection at these check in camps, so participants will not know the location or position of their competitors. The competition will resume at 7am the following day to conclude this new 'Chrono' stage.

As part of their efforts towards environmental sustainability, the event organisers have introduced an innovative initiative known as Dakar Future.

This sustainable initiative will involve the selection of ten vehicles to participate in the race, however these cars, bikes, and trucks, will race using more environmentally-friendly, and alternative energy sources. The energy sources used by these vehicles will vary from fully electric power units to hybrid models, as well as those running on biofuels and hydrogen.

The ten chosen vehicles will embark on a separate route from the main competition, covering distances of up to 100 kilometres per day. A panel of technical experts will assess the teams, taking into consideration factors such as reliability, fuel consumption, and carbon footprint.

Friday January 5 - Friday January 19, 2024.