Hundreds of vehicles begin journey from France to Saudi Arabia for Dakar Rally

Almost 680 cars, trucks, motorbikes and quad bikes — along with eight helicopters and 15 containers of support equipment — left the French port for a three-week voyage to Jeddah. (Supplied/SAMF)
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Almost 680 cars, trucks, motorbikes and quad bikes — along with eight helicopters and 15 containers of support equipment — left the French port for a three-week voyage to Jeddah. (Supplied/SAMF)
Almost 680 cars, trucks, motorbikes and quad bikes — along with eight helicopters and 15 containers of support equipment — left the French port for a three-week voyage to Jeddah. (Supplied/SAMF)
2 / 4
Almost 680 cars, trucks, motorbikes and quad bikes — along with eight helicopters and 15 containers of support equipment — left the French port for a three-week voyage to Jeddah. (Supplied/SAMF)
Almost 680 cars, trucks, motorbikes and quad bikes — along with eight helicopters and 15 containers of support equipment — left the French port for a three-week voyage to Jeddah. (Supplied/SAMF)
3 / 4
Almost 680 cars, trucks, motorbikes and quad bikes — along with eight helicopters and 15 containers of support equipment — left the French port for a three-week voyage to Jeddah. (Supplied/SAMF)
Almost 680 cars, trucks, motorbikes and quad bikes — along with eight helicopters and 15 containers of support equipment — left the French port for a three-week voyage to Jeddah. (Supplied/SAMF)
4 / 4
Almost 680 cars, trucks, motorbikes and quad bikes — along with eight helicopters and 15 containers of support equipment — left the French port for a three-week voyage to Jeddah. (Supplied/SAMF)
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Updated 10 December 2020

Hundreds of vehicles begin journey from France to Saudi Arabia for Dakar Rally

Almost 680 cars, trucks, motorbikes and quad bikes — along with eight helicopters and 15 containers of support equipment — left the French port for a three-week voyage to Jeddah. (Supplied/SAMF)
  • 680 cars, trucks, motorbikes and quad bikes — along with helicopters, containers of support equipment — left Marseille for three-week voyage to Jeddah

LONDON: Hundreds of vehicles set to take part in next year’s Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia have set sail for the Kingdom from Marseille.

Almost 680 cars, trucks, motorbikes and quad bikes — along with eight helicopters and 15 containers of support equipment — left the French port for a three-week voyage to Jeddah.

The vehicles and their teams traveled to France from 19 countries, including Ashish Raorane, a professional cross-country motorcycle rallyist who took a month to travel to Marseille from Mumbai to avoid any COVID-19 quarantine issues, as well as the Russian Team Kamaz who traveled 5,000 kilometers from Tartarstan.

Before their voyage, all vehicles were required to go through technical checks at the Circuitdu Castellet in Marseille. Pilots and their co-pilots will collect their vehicles at Jeddah Port on Dec. 30 and 31, before a second round of checks.

The second edition of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia revs into action on the morning of Jan. 3, setting off from the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah, and returning to the city on Jan. 15.

“This is when it all starts to feel real, it has been a long time coming, with us now nearly a full year on from the incredible debut Dakar Saudi Arabia held back in January of this year, but the vehicles are now firmly on their way and everything is in place for a truly epic fortnight’s racing,” Saudi Automobile and Motorsports Federation (SAMF) President Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal said.

“To get to this stage following the year we have experienced is a remarkable achievement and the culmination of a lot of hard work from many people and associations around the world. My thanks goes out to all of them, and we cannot wait to welcome all Dakar competitors, teams and partners back to the Kingdom in just a few weeks’ time.”

SAMF last week unveiled the 12 challenging routes the pilots will encounter when they put pedal to the metal across the Kingdom’s desert landscape next month.

Spread across 7,646km, the 12 stages will cross some of Saudi Arabia’s most demanding and untouched terrain as competitors perform a full loop around the Kingdom.

The 2021 edition of the Dakar Rally is the 43rd running of the race, and will be the second held in Saudi Arabia as part of a 10-year agreement between the Kingdom and Dakar Rally organizers Amaury Sport Organization (ASO).