“Just like last year, we will build a large camp at the start, but this time it will not be sandy, but in rocks. This year, despite the initial fears of some, it was a great success, and it was also practical in terms of logistics. That’s why we decided to repeat it, ” said rally director David Castera at today’s presentation of Dakar 2024 in Horoměřice near Prague.
“We want to continue the philosophy of the last year with regard to the difficulty. Ideally, the next year would be even more difficult. I believe that we succeeded and I believe that we will be able to dose everything,” said the former successful Dakar competitor. According to him, the organizers planned the course so that the challenging dune tracks were in the middle of the rally.
The most significant news is the fact that next year there will not be a marathon stage, but a so-called 48-hour stage. Its course will lead through the fourth largest desert in the world, Rub al-Khali, and each competitor or crew will decide for themselves which part of the approximately 600 km long course they will complete on the first and second day.
However, he will only be able to race until 4:00 p.m., then the crews will have to stop their racing activity in the nearest bivouac and can continue the next day at 7:00 a.m. In the special stage, motorcyclists will also have a different track than cars and trucks.
“I’m quite looking forward to it,” said Martin Macík, who took second place among the trucks this year. But he would welcome more stages. “Only twelve stages and the start moved to January 5 are negatives. On the other hand, 60 percent of the routes should be new and three completely new stages. In addition, very difficult stages at the end, which I’m looking forward to,” said a member of the MM Technology team.
Martin Prokop, currently the best Czech car driver at the Dakar, acknowledged the announced demanding course. “I’m glad that they’re keeping the concept from this year, it will be 14 days and the final stages are demanding. The decision will be made there. I’m also glad that we’re going to the Empty Quarter (Rub al-Khalí desert) again and that we’ll be there in the middle of the rally. Moreover, it looks like we will be there for a long time,” said Prokop, who took 6th place this year, to ČTK.
According to motorcyclist David Pabiška, the start shift may be related to weather problems and heavy rains in recent years. “I think it has nothing to do with us being able to spend Christmas at home,” smiled Pabiška. “I think they are trying to postpone the rally because of the weather so that the race is not as complicated for them as it was this year,” he said.
The rally will again include the accompanying Dakar Classic race plus the new Dakar future 1000 category for cars with electric, hybrid or hydrogen drive. A track of about 100 km will be prepared for them every day, but in their case it will not be about speed. Future category results will not be announced.
Today in the Czech Republic, Castera officially confirmed that the Dakar will be held in Saudi Arabia in future years as well. “We signed a contract until 2029. It doesn’t mean that it will only be driven there, but Saudi Arabia will be part of the rally. It should be said that the Saudis are financial partners of Dakar and if they weren’t there, the rally would no longer exist,” admitted Castera. He indicated, however, that the track should also visit neighboring countries in the coming years. “We have already started negotiations. But it is not possible for us to go there for just one or two days, we need to move the track there to four or five stages,” he pointed out.