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The 45th edition of the Dakar, the 4th in Saudi Arabia, will take place from December 31, 2022 to January 15, 2023 with nearly 5,000 km of specials over 14 stages.

The Dakar in Saudi Arabia is not immune to inflation. The next edition of the premier event of the FIA ​​and FIM world rally-raid championship is credited with a extension of his careerboth in terms of steps and distance to be completed against the clock. Thus, the Dakar 2023 program reports a total of 14 stages and nearly 5,000 km of specials to endure. For comparison, the2022 edition contested last January offered 4,767 km timed over 12 stages.


The start of the Dakar 2023 will be given at the very end of 2022. Indeed, it is the saturday 31 december soon that the competitors will set off in the context of a prologue not included in the chapter of 14 steps. So these are good 15 days of competition who garnish this 4th edition held in Saudi Arabia. By adding the traditional day of rest, splitting the two weeks of racing, the 45th Dakar of the name therefore extends over 16 days. Since then, the finish will be judged on Sunday January 15, 2023.

Departure and arrival

Unlike the three previous editions contested in Saudi Arabia, the caravan will not start from a major city. In fact, these are the red sea beachesin the west of the country, which will give competitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the deep end, before crossing the desert. On December 31, 2022, the start will be given from the “Sea Camp”a concept that “Consists of investing in a piece of desert by the sea”according to the organizers. It will also be about beaches to see the arrival pointon January 15, since this one is located in Dammam, completely to the eastin the Arabian Gulf.


Since arriving in Saudi Arabia in 2020, the Dakar has always experimented with a 12-stage format. The next edition offers a more extensive menu with a total of 14 stages, giving rise to a logical increase in the timed route. Nearly 5000 km of specials, this has not been seen since the 2014 editiondisputed in South America across several countries (Argentina, ‎Bolivia‎, ‎Chile). Above all, this 45th Dakar in history provides for new specials at 70%according to the estimates of the organizers, who specify that “this crossing of the country actually takes on the appearance of a complete tour since the 14 stages on the program will initially direct the Dakar towards the mountainous regions of the north-west, before heading towards the deep south-east for a three-day dive in the dune ocean of theEmpty Quarter. » In view of its course giving rise to a diagonal in its center, going from the northwest to the southeast, this 4th edition in Saudi Arabia is baptized “The Diagonal of the Sands”. Already traveled during the last editions, the desert crossing in theEmpty Quarterto be translated as “The Quarter of the Void”, will last three days with, as a bonus, a marathon stage to negotiate.

road book

In terms of roadbook, digital definitely replaces paper on the Dakar. For several years, the pilots have gradually used tablets to visualize the indications of the stage to be covered, in the car category, then in trucks and elite motorcycles. From now on, “The system being fully tested and the equipment now ready to be used in all categories, all vehicles will be equipped with this digital version this yearannounce the organizers. They also wanted review the pilots’ approach to navigation by ensuring that a competitor is not tempted to follow in a rival’s footsteps without thinking. Thus, to avoid any phenomenon of copying, they indicate that “The routes of most specials will be split over a more or less long portion, the roadbooks of routes A and B being distributed randomly. Thereby pilots who would be tempted to follow without thinking in the footsteps of their predecessors take the risk of missing their way-points and therefore suffer heavy penalties. »

Dakar Classic and Future

After four decades of “all-thermal”, the largest rally-raid in the world must logically venture on the path of energy transition. This process, called “Dakar Future” resulted in the creation of the T1-U category in 2022 dedicated to the hybrid, a technology initiated by the commitment ofAudi. She will continue according to new projects launched ” thanks to the use of bio-fuels or synthetic fuels which will massively reduce the carbon footprint of vehicles”. At the same time, the event obviously does not forget its roots by having launched the category “Dakar Classic” in 2021. Last year, the second edition of this race brought together 140 vehicles, some dating from the late 90s and others much older. Therefore, to separate vehicles that do not have the same potential, the organizers decided to create a additional gear group named H0as well as two challenges: Authentic co-driver challenge » for vehicles entering without modern regularity instruments; and Iconic classic club » for original vehicles that actually took part in the 20th Dakare century, therefore excluding all “replicas”. »

Other novelties

On a motorcyclethe latest editions have highlighted the particularly penalizing nature of the opener positioneven encouraging some riders to let go of time, even if it means depriving themselves of a possible victory on the day’s stage, so as not to have to take on the responsibility of “making the mark” the next day. To avoid these excessive management strategies, theThe organizers announce that “time compensation will therefore be allocated” without giving more details for the moment. In each category, professional drivers rub shoulders with amateurs and the means implemented are necessarily different, leading the organization to set up specific endowments. “According to the results obtained in their rally-raid career, a list of drivers” Factory will thus be defined in each category, while the Explorers » can compete with each other directly useful rewards to validate their progress in the discipline: equipment, etc. »

Photo: Dakar

More informations :

Exclusive: on board the Audi RS Q e-Tron of the Dakar with Stéphane Peterhansel

Dakar 2022: the most beautiful photos

Dakar: Al-Attiyah and Sunderland crowned again (+ final rankings)

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