LONDON: The track for next year’s Dakar Rally, which returns to Saudi Arabia for a third year, has undergone major changes compared to the previous two editions in the Kingdom and champion driver Stephane Peterhansel is looking forward to testing himself once again.
The 44th edition of the famous rally will start in Hail and end in Jeddah after a rest day in Riyadh. The course of the Saudi Dakar Rally 2022 is scheduled to head towards the southeast of the Kingdom, where the geographical terrain and the different nature of the land will pose a tough challenge to the pilots participating.
“From the first moment we hosted the Dakar Rally in the Kingdom, we proved to the whole world that we are capable of organizing the largest global events and we achieved one success after another,” Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, Chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, said.
“Although the challenge is great, the will of this country is greater, and its determination is the limit of the sky, and behind it stands the unlimited support of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince, as well as the confidence of the Minister for Sports and the enthusiasm of young generations of the sons and daughters of the Kingdom.
“We have already been working for months with our partners in the organizing body in order to maintain the remarkable level and tangible success that the Kingdom was able to achieve in the previous two editions.
“We look forward to welcoming the Kingdom's guests, including pilots, the media, organizers and lovers of adventure and excitement, and we look forward to meeting the Dakar family again in its home,” he added.
Commenting on the updates to the course, 14-time Dakar Rally winner, six on a bike and eight in a car, veteran Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel said: “During our first participation in the rally in the Kingdom, the process of moving to the Empty Quarter was relatively long, because we were excited to visit, but after two years of experience gained by Rally director David Castera in Saudi Arabia, he is able to find the perfect combination by doing everything he can to increase the level of enthusiasm and challenge in the rally.”
The man nicknamed “Mr. Dakar” added: "I think that the track in 2022 will be wonderful because it will once again test our abilities to overcome the challenges of the Kingdom's diverse desert terrain, in addition to the difficult navigation on off-road tracks.”