In a 14-day epic, the 2021 Dakar Rally will be making a giant loop around Saudi Arabia, covering a total racing distance of 7,646 kilometres with 4,767 of that mileage being a race against the clock. A field of 142 motorcycles, 73 cars, 51 trucks, 21 quads, 73 T3 and SS vehicles and 31 classic rally machines will be competing in the 43rd edition of the Dakar Rally.
Rules for next year’s Dakar Rally have been modified, with competitors receiving the race roadblock 10 minutes before the start of the race (20 minutes for motorcycles). Another import change is the limit of six rear tyres for the motorcycle category, to encourage caution and an instinct to finish the race amongst motorcycle competitors while four-wheelers are allowed a limited number of piston changes.
Additionally, all riders are required to wear ASO-sanctioned airbag jackets during the race. Another rule change affecting all competitors is no mechanical work or repairs are allowed to be carried out at refuelling points, save what can be done by the rider or driver during the 15 minutes allocated.
Racing begins in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on January first with scrutineering and a 11 km prologue stage on January 2. Racing proper begins January 3 with a 622 km stage to Bisha. Stage 4 of the Dakar Rally is the longest single day stage at 813 km with most stages averaging between 550 km to 700 km.
The end of the Dakar Rally sees a return to Jeddah with an overnight stage between Yanbu and Jeddah covering a distance of 452 km, the shortest racing stage. Favourites to win the 2021 Dakar Rally are Carlos Sainz, driving the Mini John Cooper Works while Ricky Brabec on the Honda CRF 450 is favoured for the flag in the motorcycle category.
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