Saudi Arabia will be playing host to the fast-approaching 2020 Dakar Rally which is set to start on 5 January 2020. This is the first time that the historic challenge will take place in Asia.
The Dakar rally takes drivers through some of the harshest and most grueling racing terrains in the world. It traditionally took place between Paris and the Senegalese capital of Dakar.
In 2008 the race was canceled due to security threats in Mauritania and resumed he next year in South America where it has been held ever since.
This is the first time the event takes place in Asia with Saudi Arabia being the first host on Asian soil.
The 2020 edition of the rally will see 550 drivers from 62 countries taking on this new terrain, of which 75% of the 7,800km race will have them taking on the harsh Arabian desert.
This year will see rivers completing 12 stages over 13 days as they begin the challenge in Jeddah and will see them finishing in Qiddiya.
Saudi Arabia is already under heavy criticism as Human Rights groups have accused them of host major sporting events such as the rally, World Cup 2022, WWE and other sporting events, to sports wash the Human Rights violations they are being accused of.
Saudi Arabia recently started issuing tourists visas for the first time in September in a bid to set the country as a new worldwide sporting tourist destination. However, their tight laws against alcohol and strict sex segregation policies will pose a serious challenge.
Prince Abdulaziz went on to tell reporters that:
“With the launch of the Dakar Rally here in the kingdom, the world will see the picturesque nature of our country and its wonderful desert”
“The world will come closer than ever to the people of the hospitable kingdom (that is) looking forward to welcoming the world.”