Dakar Rally to Shake Things Up in Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter in 2025

    The Dakar Rally, the world’s premier cross-country rally event, will remain in Saudi Arabia for a sixth consecutive year in 2025, but the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) has plans to inject more excitement into the proceedings.

    According to the latest reports, the rally’s organizers are set to heavily feature the Empty Quarter, also known as Rub’ al Khali, during the final three stages of the 2025 edition. This vast erg, or sand sea, has long been a testing ground for Dakar competitors, and it will now play an even more prominent role in the event’s conclusion.

    The revamped format includes the return of the Chrono Stage, a two-day leg that requires competitors to camp overnight before continuing the next morning. This year, the Chrono Stage will be expanded to a staggering 950-kilometer challenge.

    Additionally, the cars and bikes will now start concurrently on at least five stages, rather than the traditional staggered starts, while the trucks will follow a similar format for one day in the Empty Quarter. Despite these changes, the marathon rules, which prohibit teams from receiving assistance, will still apply for one more leg.

    The grand finale will pay tribute to the Dakar’s illustrious past, as all vehicles will start at the same time, separated by class. This format was previously used during the Paris–Dakar Rally days, and it will be an exciting spectacle as competitors make their way to the finish line in Shubaytah, which hosted the inaugural Chrono Stage in 2024.

    The 2025 Dakar Rally will kick off on January 3 and run through January 17, with a total of twelve stages following the Prologue in Bisha, which first appeared on the Dakar route in 2021.

    The changes to the 2025 Dakar Rally promise to deliver an even more thrilling and challenging experience for both competitors and spectators alike, with the Empty Quarter set to play a pivotal role in the outcome of the event.

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