Saudi Arabia hosts Dakar rally

550 pilots from around the world, including Alonso

07 January, 15:44

    (ANSAmed) - NAPLES, JANUARY 7 - Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso, rally world champion Carlos Sainz, Arab racing star Nasser Al Attiyah are among aces competing in Saudi Arabia, which is hosting for the first time this year the Dakar rally.

    The famous off-road competition for cars, motorcycles and trucks has become famous for its legendary stopovers from Paris to Dakar. However, the race has been exploring other parts of the world for the past few years. After the 2019 edition in Peru, the rally is hosted by Saudi Arabia with 12 stopovers on the dunes of the desert of Rub' al Khali, for over 9,000 km where pilots race and face technical challenges. Alonso during yesterday's competition repaired a technical problem with his team mate caused by a stone in the desert. Overall, 550 pilots from 62 countries are taking part in the competition.

    The rally will also be held around some of Saudi Arabia's archaeological sites and tourist attractions.

    Tomorrow's leg of the race will touch the site of Mada'in Salih, where the ancient city of Hegra was located. Other attractions along the way include the oasis of Al Hassa, the largest in the world with its 58,000 square kilometers and over two million palm trees, the Makkah and Medina.

    ''In Saudi Arabia - said Saudi pilot Yazeed Al Rajhi before departure - you can find any type of terrain. I believe all pilots will be surprised by what they will see during the competition: places where it is suddenly winter and then full summer in the same day. It is a great country and it offers many different conditions''. Many female drivers are also competing in a country which has only recently, just over a year ago, allowed women to get a driver's license.

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