Chapter 3 of the history of the Dakar is now in full swing. After the first edition held in the Middle East last January, the competitors and crews are heading back to Saudi Arabia to continue exploring the deserts of the country. The route designed for the 2021 edition is a loop course beginning and ending in Jeddah, where the toughest competitors will arrive a few days after the rest day in Ha'il, where the Saudi rally-raid community comes together every year. While the bivouac will revisit some of the places where it set up camp a few months ago, the specials will be 100% new.
As the race enters uncharted territory, the measures taken in 2020 to put the focus on navigation will continue their natural progression. Road books will now be handed out in the morning right before the start of each special. Some categories will have digital road books. Furthermore, the rules have been amended to slow down the vehicles and, in general, to make the race even safer. Aural warnings in the approach to certain difficulties, the definition of "slow zones", the reduction in the number of tyres available to bikers and the mandatory use of airbag vests will help to curb risks.
The 2021 Dakar also takes a trip down memory lane with the launch of the Dakar Classic. In parallel with the main race, a test of consistency will be held for vehicles that took part in the Dakar or other major rally-raid events before the 2000s. The cars and trucks that forged the legend of the Dakar will be making a comeback… in time for chapter 3!