PARIS (Reuters) – The Dakar Rally will end a decade in South America and move to the deserts of Saudi Arabia next year, organisers announced on Monday.
Dakar Director David Castera said the concept of discovery, and a voyage into the unknown, had always been part of the rally.
“By going to Saudi Arabia, it is of course that aspect that fascinates me. I’m convinced that such a feeling will be shared by all the riders, drivers and copilots,” he said in a statement on the Dakar website https://www.dakar.com/en/news/2019/dakar-chapter-iii/162128.
“As the director of the event, it’s a massive challenge to be faced with a blank page with limitless possibilities.”
Details of the race will be presented at a news conference in Riyadh on April 25.
The Dakar started in 1977 as a race from Paris and across the Sahara desert to the Senegalese capital in West Africa and has long been regarded as the world’s toughest motorsport challenge.
It has been staged in South America since 2009 after leaving Africa for security reasons.
This year’s rally, held entirely in Peru, was won by Qatari driver Nasser al-Attiyah, now a three-times champion, in a Toyota.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Ken Ferris)