SHOWS: AD DIRIYAH, SAUDI ARABIA (APRIL 25, 2019) (ASO - NO RESALES) 1.
VARIOUS DRIVERS AND RIDERS VISITING AD DIRIYAH 2.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) CARLOS SAINZ, TWO-TIME DAKAR CHAMPION SAYING: "South America was great for the Dakar but it was probably a perfect time to make a step to a new country and I think that Saudi Arabia is bringing a lot of what Dakar needs and I am really excited." 3.
DRIVERS AND RIDERS ON STAGE AT LAUNCH EVENT 4.
SOUNDBITE (French) STEPHANE PETERHANSEL 13-TIME DAKAR CHAMPION "It's a double challenge for me: I won in Africa, I won in South America, if it is possible to win again in Saudi Arabia, that would be great.
This is the first challenge.
And the second challenge is to do the next Dakar for the first time with my wife.
I did 20 Dakar with my faithful co-pilot, Jean-Paul Cottret and I wanted a new challenge and so it's going to be with Andrea who is novice as a co-pilot which is also a very big challenge" STORY: Two-times winner Carlos Sainz says he is looking forward to tackling the dunes and deserts of Saudi Arabia next year as the Dakar Rally organisers presented the 'third chapter' of their endurance event on Thursday (April 25).
The 2020 edition will be held entirely in the kingdom, starting in Jeddah on Jan.
5 and ending in Al-Qiddiya near Riyadh on Jan.17 after 12 stages and 9,000km.
The route will take in the mountains to the north and the Rub al Khali, or 'Empty Quarter', desert region in the south of the country with dunes more than 250 metres high.
Saudi Arabia will become the 30th country visited by the Dakar.
The Dakar started in 1977 as a race from Paris and across the Sahara desert to the Senegalese capital in West Africa and has long been regarded as the world's toughest motorsport challenge.
It has been staged in South America since 2009, and entirely in Peru last year, after leaving Africa for security reasons.
Next year's edition will be the first in the Middle East.
Rally director David Castera said the time had come to enter uncharted territory.
(Production: Oliver Regan)