Dakar organisers reveal 2022 route

Toby Price

Dakar Rally organisers have revealed the broad shape of the route for the 2022 event, the third to be held in Saudi Arabia.

The event kicks off with the Prologue and Start Podium on January 1 in Ha’il and finishes in Jeddah on January 14, with a rest day at the capital of Riyadh on January 8.

Before getting to Riyadh, however, competitors will tackle the ‘Empty Quarter’, a large desert in the south-eastern corner of the country.

Organisers are therefore promising a more sand-heavy challenge compared to Dakar 2021, which was made up of a large loop from Jeddah and back.

“This immense desert is as big as France and extends over the entire south-eastern region of the country,” read Dakar’s announcement.

“It is the challenge that [rally director] David Castera has set for himself. The idea is to emphasise negotiating the sand with, for example, three stages exclusively in the dunes.

The 2022 Dakar Rally route

“The weeding-out process will come down to the crews’ ability to tackle the dunes and off-road navigation.

“The drop in the average time should not be the result of a series of punctures that several competitors have suffered on some of the rocky stages.”

There have been big changes in the Bikes ranks since Dakar 2021, with Kevin Benavides moving from Honda to KTM after becoming champion.

The Japanese manufacturer has responded by recruiting Pablo Quintanilla from Husqvarna.

Scrutineering for the 2022 Dakar Rally commences on December 30, 2021.

Dakar 2022 route

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