2024 Dakar Rally kicks off on Friday, January 5: here’s what to expect

Published Jan 4, 2024


By: Double Apex

The 2024 Dakar Rally marks the 46th edition of the famous off-road race. For the fifth time in succession the event will take place entirely within the borders of Saudi Arabia. We bring you a 2024 Dakar Rally preview as the race starts later this week.

The 2024 Dakar Rally starts on 5 January 2024 with a prologue. The latter determines the starting order for Stage 1, a day later. Over 350 racers will compete over 5,000 km of timed sections, with the race ending on 19 January.

The race will, once again, start in the historic Alula, alongside the Red Sea. The checkered flag will fall in Yanbu. Sixty percent of the 2024 Dakar Rally is said to take place on unchartered tracks. There will be 14 days of racing punctuated by the now traditional rest day.

Click here to learn more about the basics of the Dakar Rally.

The 2024 Dakar Rally field consists of, among others, 72 cars, of which thirty eight were built in South Africa. These include 23 Toyota Hiluxes, 12 CRT buggies, three Red-Lined bakkies, and two Ford Rangers. That’s more than half the field. There will be plenty of SA lads and ladies in other categories, not to mention the countless, tirelessly working crews who provide back-up between stages.

Race organisers have introduced a new stage format for this year’s race. The 600 km stage will be contested over two days. When the clocks strike 16:00, all vehicles will be required to stop at the next bivouac (of eight) they come across.

There will be no support crews allowed at each rest area although competitors are permitted to help each other during the evening. However, there will be no choice of repair companions. Crews could well be helping or helped by their main rivals. Competitors will camp and set off again at 07:00 the following day to complete the remaining section of the route.

The stage will take place in the immense desert of the Empty Quarter. The scale of the area lends itself to two separate courses, one for motorbikes and quads and the other for cars and trucks. This means the cars will not benefit from the tracks left by the two-wheelers placing additional emphasis on precise navigation.

Return of the Classics

The Dakar Classic was introduced in 2021. This regularity event is for vehicles from the 1980s and ‘90s with Dakar pedigree. The first Dakar Classic attracted just 23 entries, but this ballooned to 184 in 2023. This year’s list has been capped at 100, including a daughter father pairing from the Cape. The crew will be driving a 1986 Porsche 911.

Click here to check out some of the machines that have raced in the Dakar Classic.

* This article originally appeared on Double Apex and is used with their permission.

Follow Double Apex on Facebook and Instagram for more car content

Related Topics:

Motor racing