The route for the 2022 Dakar Rally has been unveiled by the Amaury Sport Organisation, which kicks off on January 1 of next year. The rally’s 12 stages will cover more than 8,100 kilometers of the Saudi desert, or more than 5,000 miles.
That’s more than last year’s event, exceeding the 4,767 miles covered in 2021. Of course, last year’s rally was understandably a challenge to pull off because of the pandemic, which also explains the increase in entered vehicles from 295 in 2021 to 430 in 2022. The ASO claims the competitors will make up one of the largest fields in nearly ten years.
The 2022 Dakar Rally will see competitors return to the Arabian Desert’s famous Rub’ al Khali, otherwise known as the Empty Quarter, where sand dunes can go up to 820 feet high. So, there’s going to be plenty of high-speed dune running this time around, according to Dirtfish.
The ’22 Dakar will run from January 1 through January 14, and there’s just one rest day in the middle. The following are the stages, locations and distances:
- January 1: Stage 1A - Jeddah -> Hail - 636 kilometers, or 395 miles.
- January 2: Stage 1B - Hail -> Hail - 546 kilometers, or 339 miles.
- January 3: Stage 2 - Hail -> Al Artawiya - 585 kilometers, or 364 miles.
- January 4: Stage 3 - Al Artawiya -> Al Qaysumah - 554 kilometers, or 344 miles.
- January 5: Stage 4 - Al Qaysumah -> Riyadh - 707 kilometers, or 439 miles.
- January 6: Stage 5 - Riyadh -> Riyadh - 563 kilometers, or 350 miles.
- January 7: Stage 6 - Riyadh -> Riyadh - 635 kilometers, or 395 miles.
- January 8: Rest day.
- January 9: Stage 7 - Riyadh -> Al Dawadimi - 700 kilometers, or 435 miles.
- January 10: Stage 8 - Al Dawadimi -> Wadi Ad Dawasir - 828 kilometers, or 514 miles.
- January 11: Stage 9 - Wadi Ad Dawasir -> Wadi Ad Dawasir - 490 kilometers, or 304 miles.
- January 12: Stage 10 - Wadi Ad Dawasir -> Bisha - 757 kilometers, or 470 miles.
- January 13: Stage 11 - Bisha -> Bisha - 500 kilometers, or 311 miles.
- January 14: Stage 12 - Bisha -> Jeddah - 676 kilometers, or 420 miles.
If you were following along and doing the math, it comes out to a total of 8,177 kilometers, or about 5,081 miles. You can see why Dakar is one of the events where just finishing the damn thing is an accomplishment. This is endurance racing in more than one sense, thanks to the environmental conditions and the grueling distance.
While the competition is a grueling trial for riders, drivers and co-drivers, the true test is the machines running the thousands of miles in the span of two weeks. And as organizers announced ambitions to lower its emissions, the 2022 Dakar Rally will debut a few EVs of sorts.
There are no BEVs just yet, but there are machines that will be powered by alternative drivetrains, like Q Motorsport’s Audi RS Q e-tron, which uses an internal combustion engine to charge the battery powering its two electric motors, and the Gaussin H2 Racing Truck, which is powered by hydrogen. I think it’ll be worth watching for that alone, not to mention the gnarly action the Dakar is known for.