The Dakar Rally, for the second year in a row, is running entirely within the boundaries of a single country. In 2019 it was Peru. This January 5th-17th, the race will change regions entirely to the deserts and dunes of Saudi Arabia. Thursday the race unveiled the 2020 Dakar route, which starts in Jeddah and ends in Qiddiyah across eleven days of competition with a day of rest in Riyadh.
2019 victors Toyota Gazoo Racing are back with the reigning champion Nasser Al-Attiyah, joined by teammates Giniel De Villiers, Bernhard Ten Brinke, and Fernando Alonso. The brand new Borgward team has gotten super serious this year by hiring 2019 runner-up Nani Roma. Mini JCW is back again with Stephane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz, and Orlando Terranova driving.
There are no American racers in the cars class (Robby Gordon, where you at?), but four can be found on motorcycles, including Ricky Brabec on a factory-entered Honda and Andrew Short on a factory-entered Husqvarna. It’s safe to say the KTM team will again be the favorites, having taken the top three spots in the 2019 running with Toby Price, Matthias Walkner, and Sam Sunderland.
For the full entry list, check it out over on dakar.com. The race begins in just over a month and a half.
It’s not great that the most important off-road race in the world has chased The Kingdom’s massive dangling money carrot, as it is helping to normalize everything that it has done. War crimes, clandestine support of terrorism, degradation of rights, torture, capital punishment, etc. Then again, I live in the United States. And was South America any better? Everything everywhere sucks. Who am I to throw stones?