Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), the promoters of the annual Dakar Rally, have released initial details for the 2024 event, including start-finish dates, the basic route and an all-new stage format.
The 46th edition of the Dakar will once again be held in Saudi Arabia, starting on 5 January and concluding on 19 January, 2024. According to race director, David Castera, the challenge will be just as daunting next year as it was this year.
Next year’s Dakar will see 14 days of racing over 12 stages, starting in the country’s north-west at AlUla, which the rally raid last visited in 2020. Competitors will cover approximately 5,000km over the two weeks, with the route heading south-east into the Empty Quarter, before heading back west and finishing on the Red Sea coast at Yanbu. The full stage-by-stage breakdown is yet to be released, but ASO says 60 per cent of the 2024 route is new.
An all-new element for 2024 is the ‘48H Chrono Stage,’ that’ll be held on 11-12 January. This will be similar to the two-part Marathon Stage where outside assistance isn’t permitted, but the twist is that instead of one big overnight bivouac, eight smaller bivouacs will be dotted along the route. Once the clock strikes 4:00PM, competitors must stop at the first bivouac they encounter, meaning they could potentially be separated from their rivals, with no knowledge of their position.
At 7:00AM the following day, racing from all bivouacs will recommence, with the result tallied after approximately 600km of special stage.
Additionally, the 48H Chrono Stage will run a different route for bikes/quads and cars/trucks, meaning the latter will not be able to benefit from tracks made by the former.
As part of its Mission 1000 initiative, Dakar 2024 will welcome manufacturers to test low/no-carbon vehicle technologies under the extreme conditions of the event. Participating vehicles will cover around 100km daily, with laboratory assistance at the end of each day.
The other key detail revealed in June’s announcement is that the Dakar Classic, a regularity event for vehicles from the ‘80s and ‘90s with Dakar pedigree, will be capped at approximately 100 entries. The first Dakar Classic in 2021 attracted just 23 starters, but in 2023, entries ballooned to 184, leading to the change for next year.
In the truck division at this year’s Dakar, it was a clean sweep for Iveco, with Janus van Kesteren winning, Martin Macik second and Martin van den Brink third. All three were in Powerstars, as was the fourth-place finisher, Mitchel van den Brink.
The Iveco dominance was due, in part, to all the Kamaz teams choosing not to participate due to objections over the entry conditions that related to the war in Ukraine. Whether Kamaz will also sit out the 2024 Dakar had not been confirmed at time of writing
Images: Iveco and ASO