The Dakar Rally undergoes a major change – imitating the World Rally Championship

The organisers of the Dakar Rally have announced the route and schedule for next year's competition, set to commence at the beginning of January.
Carlos Sainz
Carlos Sainz in action at the Dakar Rally. Photo by: Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
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The iconic Dakar Rally will be held for the sixth time across the deserts of Saudi Arabia. The 47th edition kicks off on January 3, 2025, in Bisha and concludes on January 17 in Shubaytah.

This desert adventure features a 48-Hour Stage, introduced in last year’s race. The rally will also traverse the so-called Empty Quarter, a desert that truly tests the endurance of both drivers and vehicles. Included is a marathon stage extending over 800 kilometres.

Significant changes have been made to the format of the rally. There are at least five stages where competitors in the motorcycle and car categories will follow different routes. This improves safety by reducing the frequency of cars overtaking motorcycles. It also adds a navigational challenge for the car crews since they cannot track the motorcycles’ trails.

At the end of the Dakar Rally, a stage is run that begins with a mass start and is shorter in length than the others. This stage is designed to distribute additional points similar to the Power Stage in the World Rally Championship.

“We are trying something like that, and we are going to do the same as in the WRC with the Power Stage, whoever wins gets more points for the world championship,” Dakar Rally Director David Castera told Motorsport.com’s Spanish edition.

“So, we are going to play a little bit with the last special stage, which is short and is going to end in a bivouac a little bit special, because I like the idea of being close to the desert, which is the DNA of the Dakar.”

According to Castera, only the final stage of the competition will be shorter than 350 kilometres.

This year’s Dakar Rally ended with Spanish driver Carlos Sainz claiming victory.

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