Details of the world’s most challenging race were laid out to the motorsport world in a press conference hosted in Qiddiya on the outskirts of Riyadh by the organizers of Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 to confirm specifics of the route’s 12 stages, which drivers will contest during the formidable adventure from Jan 5 to 17.
Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Sport Authority (GSA), and Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Motorsport Federation, were both present to speak about Saudi Arabia as a rising capital for sport capital and what the world can expect during Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020.
“Everyone knows my passion for motorsport, and today I’m full of pride and excitement as a Saudi citizen and a sports fan. With a clear vision and unlimited support, ambition and success become a habit and an obsession,” the GSA chief said.
“We can’t wait to welcome the world of motorsport to Saudi Arabia for the world’s most challenging race to deliver an exceptional edition of Dakar like never before. A successful Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 will help the kingdom carry on its march toward becoming a leader in staging global sporting events.
“With Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 closer than ever, we are thrilled to show the world our stunning nature, unrivaled desert and the warm hospitality of the Saudi people,” he added.
With less than three weeks to go till the demanding race begins in Jeddah, the Saudi desert is ready to welcome more than 550 drivers from 62 world countries to experience the spectacular nature and unique terrain of the uncharted Saudi desert.
Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 gets underway in Jeddah before drivers and crews navigate their way to the north through the challenging trip along the coast, where the drivers pass by Red Sea Project and the futuristic megacity of Neom.
They cruise then through the sandy hills of Hail on the way to Riyadh before taking a turn to the west in the center of the Kingdom’s enormous desert and then looping back toward the east to enter the Empty Quarter ahead of crossing the finish line in Qiddiya.
Taking place in the future entertainment, sports and cultural destination of Qiddiya, where the winner of the 7500-km Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 will be crowned, the press conference included a panel discussion featuring Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Abdullah, Saudi rally veteran Yazeed Al-Rajhi and three Saudi drivers.
Prince Khalid Bin Sultan said: “We are committed to developing motorsport in the Kingdom, improving conditions for drivers and supporting new talents so that Saudi youths have the perfect stage to show the world their unparalleled potential when they get the chance.”
He also announced that Saudi Arabian Motorsport Federation will support a number of Saudi drivers who will make their Dakar debut in Saudi Arabia by covering their race entry fees.
The press conference also marked the launch of Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020’s international advertising campaign, which will run across major cities around the world, including Paris, Milan and Madrid. The campaign’s promotional video will be screened in iconic locations such as Times Square in New York, Leicester Square in London, Burj Khalifa in Dubai in addition to Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam in Saudi Arabia.
By hosting major international sporting events, Saudi Arabia is building a legacy as a world sports and entertainment destination, and an event of Dakar Rally calibre would surely cement the kingdom’s status.
Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 will see pilots drive specially modified vehicles, trucks, quad, SxS, and motorbikes, designed to handle 12 stages of various terrains.
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