The Dakar Rally presented in Paris the definitive route of its 43rd edition, with 7,856 kilometers (5,097 timed), between the coastal city of Jeddah, the second most important in the country, and Qiddiyah, a city that began to be built in 2018. Between the 5 and on January 17, 351 vehicles (147 motorcycles, 87 cars, 47 trucks, 47 SSV vehicles and 23 quads) will dispute the victory, although none will capture as many attention as the Toyota Hilux of Fernando Alonso.
"I think he can't win, deep down he knows, or I hope so. He is here to learn, he is his first Dakar, he is someone very intelligent and professional, so he will learn very fast," says David Castera, director of the Dakar , in statements collected by Efe. The new boss of the race considers Carlos Sainz (Mini) favorites, winner in 2010 and 2018, Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota), champion of the title, and Stéphane Peterhansel (Mini), who is looking for his eighth crown in cars.
The two-time world champion of Formula 1 must also adapt to developments in the regulation, which in this edition requires the delivery of road books just a few minutes before the release of the special, making preparation difficult.
Variety of landscapes
"Alonso must accept with humility that he will be advanced by pilots who knows that they are worse than him, but that they have a technical past and an experience in the desert that allows them to go faster. He has to learn to be patient, to know the land, "says Castera.
With five stages that will exceed 450 kilometers, Castera promises "a real battle." "We have rediscovered all the DNA of the rally through this great desert. We have many contrasts and we have rediscovered all types of deserts," says Castera on a country of two million square kilometers, with a variety of landscapes, including mountains, canyons, Dunes and plains.
However, the constant violation of human rights by the ultra-conservative monarchy or its involvement in the war in Yemen has unleashed a wave of criticism about the election of the Dakar, which thus ends 11 years in South America. "We met to reflect. But we had many guarantees of the country, we know that there is a willingness to open," says Castera.
The organization of the race also cites the numerous sporting events that have traveled to Arabia in recent months. Among the most prominent, the Italian Super Cup and Formula E, although boxing matches and mixed martial arts are also included.
According to the criteria of The Trust ProjectKnow more
- Dakar Rally
- Fernando Alonso
Dakar Rally Fernando Alonso's latest essay on the same Dakar terrain
Dakar Rally Fernando Alonso: "Win the Dakar rally? I have a 1% chance"
More MotorFernando Alonso already looks at the Dakar with another face: "A podium that gives us confidence"