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Dakar Dakar

Dakar reveals 2024 route with 60% new stages

Dakar Rally organisers have revealed the date and location of the 2024 edition, with 60 per cent of the course set to take place on all-new stages.

The event will remain in Saudi Arabia for the fifth year running, and will be held from 5 to 19 January. 

The 5,000-kilometre route, encompassing a prologue and twelve competitive stages, will begin in the historic town of Al-Ula before competitors venture across the Empty Quarter to the Red Sea town of Yanbu.

Organisers state that 60 per cent of stages will be new, with the most significant novelty coming in the form of a so-called '48h CHRONO' stage covering 600km across two days with an overnight halt.

Competitors will be divided into eight different bivouacs depending on where they are when the clock strikes 16:00, before setting off the following morning at 07:00 to complete the stage in the Empty Quarter.

Significantly, there will be two different routes with cars and trucks split from bikes and quads so they will not benefit from the two-wheeled competitors' ruts.

Around ten vehicles, including cars, bikes and trucks, are expected to take part in Dakar's Mission 1000 programme on a different route to the official one. 

Vehicles with hydrogen engines, fully electric powertrains or hybrids with a minimum of biofuel will be eligible, with the contest monitored by a jury of experts who will measure technical reliability, energy consumption and carbon footprint.

Among those expected to enter the sub-division are GCK with a new hydrogen prototype which was initially presented in 2022.

Insight: How close is widespread adoption of hydrogen in motorsport?

#200 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota: Nasser Al-Attiyah, Mathieu Baumel

#200 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota: Nasser Al-Attiyah, Mathieu Baumel

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Meanwhile, Dakar Rally director David Castera has affirmed that the race will continue in Saudi Arabia until 2029, but does not rule out adding more countries to the route.

"We will always have Saudi Arabia," he said.

"But we can add other places, we are considering adding more countries in the future, totally."

Castera added that this would only make sense if it was for multiple days, "not for just one day".

"It doesn't make sense to leave with the difficulty it's going to have because of customs, immigration papers, etc," he said.

"If I do it, it's to do something big and good. Not at the moment, but we are working on it."

This year's event was won by Toyota driver Nasser Al-Attiyah, whose victory was his fifth on the Dakar.

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