The event will remain in Saudi Arabia for the fifth consecutive year and will be held from 5 to 19 January.
The 5,000km course, comprising a prologue and 12 stages, will begin in the historic city of Al-Ula, before competitors venture through the Empty Quarter to the Red Sea town of Yanbu.
Organizers say 60 per cent of the stages will be new, with the most significant new feature being a so-called ’48-hour time trial’ which will cover 600km over two days with an overnight stop.
Competitors will be separated into eight different bivouacs depending on where they are when the clock strikes 16:00, before setting off again the following morning at 07:00 to complete the stage in the Empty Quarter.
It is important to note that there will be two different courses, with cars and trucks separated from the motorbikes and quads, so as not to benefit from the courses of the two-wheeled competitors.
Meanwhile, around 10 vehicles, including cars, motorcycles and trucks, are expected to participate in the Dakar Future program on a route other than the official one.
Vehicles with hydrogen engines, all-electric or hybrid powertrains with a minimum of biofuel can participate. The competition will be monitored by a panel of experts who will measure technical reliability, energy consumption and carbon footprint.
#200 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota: Nasser Al-Attiyah, Mathieu Baumel
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
Furthermore, the director of the Dakar, David Castera, said that the race will continue in Saudi Arabia until 2029, but does not rule out adding other countries to the route.
“We will always have Saudi Arabia,” he said. “But we can add more places, we are considering adding more countries in the future, absolutely.”
Castera added that this would only make sense if it were for multiple days, “not just one day.”
“He didn’t have to leave with the difficulties that there will be with customs, immigration paperwork, etc,” he said. “If we’re going to do it, it’s to do something big and good. Not at the moment, but we’re working on it.”
This year’s event was won by Toyota driver Nasser Al-Attiyah, in his fifth Dakar victory.