The Dakar Rally will move from South America to Saudi Arabia for 2020

The 2020 Dakar Rally will take place in Saudi Arabia, it has been confirmed, moving from its home of the last 11 years in South America.

As the largest country in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia contains varying conditions and landscapes to test the competitors.

The event will begin in Jeddah before traversing the mountain areas near the border with Jordan and exploring the sand dunes of the country’s ‘Empty Quarter’ during the 9000-kilometre rally.

The Dakar Rally started life in Africa and enjoyed 30 years on the continent before moving to South America.

"Africa, South America... and now Asia. The third chapter of its history is particularly fascinating and exciting for a race focused on exploration like the Dakar,” said David Castera, director of the Dakar Rally.

“Here, in the largest state in the region, we can let our imagination run riot with the infinite possibilities for a tough, balanced and varied course. 

“The sporting challenge that we are putting together for the 42nd edition will tap the full potential of this vast country and its mosaic of deserts, mountains, canyons, valleys and coastal landscapes."

“I think it will be really exciting for everybody as it’s a new location,” added three-time Dakar winner and local Nasser Al-Attiyah.

“When the region changes, the terrain definitely changes. Yet, I have a big experience in the terrain in the Middle East and more specifically in Saudi, being a two-time winner of Hayel Rally in 2008 and 2011. 

“I’m definitely looking at the podium here and I think being an expert in the Middle East region, I will have the chance to be one of the very strong Dakarists in the upcoming 2020 edition of the rally. 

“We will definitely miss having the rally in South America with its amazing South American rally fans, but we love Dakar Rally and Motorsports and we will enjoy it wherever it is.”