Route for 2021 Dakar rally unveiled
Defending their choice of Saudi Arabia as host, the Dakar rally organisers, the Amaury Sport Organisation have finally unveiled the route for the 2021 Dakar event. Slated to begin from January 2, 2021, the Dakar rally will both start and end in Jeddah, on January 15. As a part of safety measures due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the competitors and anyone associated with the rally will have to be quarantined for 48 hours on arrival to Saudi Arabia.
The 43rd edition of the Dakar rally will be special because it not only gets a new route but will also witness a new class of vehicles joining the collection of cars, bikes, quads, trucks, SSVs and buggies. The Dakar Classic Category, as this new class is called, will include vehicles that competed in the 1980s and 90s. The route will be shorter for these vehicles than that of the main event.
The 2021 Dakar route that goes through the desert and across the sea looks interesting as it starts from Jeddah, which is the Prologue of 11km then heads to Bisha that is the first stage of 622 kilometres. Then the second stage is from Bisha that heads to Wadi Al Dawasir with a distance of 685 kilometres covered, progressing to the third stage around Wadi Al Dawasir, around 630 kilometres.
From Wadi Al Dawasir it goes up to Riyadh for the fourth stage covering around 813 kilometres. Heading to Buraydah for the fifth stage it covers 625 kilometres and Ha'il for the sixth stage with 655 kilometres. After a one-day halt at Ha’il, the seventh stage starts with progress towards Sakaka with a travel of 737 kilometres. From Sakaka to Neom is the eighth stage covering a distance of around 709 kilometres. After covering a distance of 579 kilometres in Neom for the ninth stage, the tenth stage starts with progress toward Al Ula for a distance of around 583 kilometres. The eleventh stage is then headed towards Yanbu, a distance of 557 kilometres and the final stage is Jedda, covering a distance of 452 kilometres.
After claiming the lives of motorcyclists Paulo Goncalves and Edwin Straver in the 2020 Dakar rally, the 2021 Dakar gets a slew of new safety measures for the riders. The safety measures now include compulsory airbags for motorcyclists, aural warnings that notify riders while approaching potential danger zones, along with specially designated slow zones with a speed limit of 90kmph for tricky sections.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced the organisers to push the event and hold stages in the neighbouring states of Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. But the 2021 Dakar route even after so much delay still looks interesting and we are excited about it.