The 44th Dakar route comprises a total of 13 stages, including 1 short 19 km stage on New Year’s Day. From January 1 to January 14, the participants will cover 8375 km, of which 4258 are competitive kilometres. The participants in the Classic Dakar drive 6133 km, good for 2612 competitive kilometers. The marathon stage will be run on day three of the Dakar. Like the two previous editions in Saudi Arabia, this Dakar will also be a mix of sand, dunes and navigation.
On the way to Ha’Il, the participants will ride a short stage of 19 km. It is a warm-up for the first leg the next day when the real work begins in the north of Saudi Arabia. The first dunes will arrive on January 3rd when the participants are confronted with the first part of the marathon stage. The second, slightly less difficult part of the marathon stage will be completed on Tuesday 4 January. In the evening, the teams can fully tinker with the cars. On Mondays, only the participants are allowed to do that.
On Wednesday it goes to Riyadh. With its 465 km, it is the longest stage of this Dakar. The first 200 km is ridden on a well accessible track, followed by a large portion of dunes. At the end there is another stone, rocky slope. The bivouac in Riyadh remains manned for no less than four days. The stage starts and ends in Riyadh on Thursday and Friday. The Friday stage promises to be a challenge for the copilots. It will be a very difficult and varied ride with again a lot of dunes. On Saturday there is a rest day in Riyadh.
The day after the rest day promises to be a long day that starts with a long connecting ride. During the first 200 km, the participants will see nothing but sand and it goes from one valley to another. At the end of the day the landscape changes. Besides a long one, this will also be a difficult stage. It is expected that many participants will not reach the bivouac before dark. That is why the ride starts later the next day to give everyone a chance to catch their breath. The round of Wadi Ad-Dawasir will be a test for the material. Some mountain passes, canyons and a little sand are the ingredients of the day. The perhaps most beautiful stage will be ridden on January 12. Stage 10 is described as the one where the variations in relief and color contribute to a continuous wonder.
The penultimate stage can still mess up the different classifications. The round of Bisha Bisha is one of 345 km. After 10 stages, this will be a test for the material. Half of the stage consists of an extensive and varied dune palette.
On the final day it goes to the final podium in Jeddah, also the starting place of this Dakar. Dunes are no longer included in this stage, but there is still a lot of sand. The participants who make it to the finish may then set course towards the Red Sea where the final podium is located.