Dakar Rally heads to Saudi Arabia in 2020

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The legendary Dakar Rally will take place in Saudi Arabia beginning next year, with event organizer ASO revealing the route during a news conference in the Saudi city of Al-Qiddiya on Thursday.

Beginning on Jan. 5 in Jeddah, the west coast city that is the country’s second largest, the rally will traverse more than 5,500 miles in 12 stages before concluding on Jan. 17 in Al-Qiddiya.

A rest day is scheduled for Jan. 11 in Riyadh.

The route features many sand dunes similar to last year’s event in Peru, but the opening stages of the event will feature a more mountainous terrain.

The Dakar Rally previously had taken place in South America since 2009. The famous rally originally was held primarily in Africa but was relocated after threats of terrorism in Mauritania led event organizers to cancel the 2008 event.

The current contract for Saudi Arabia to host the rally is for the next five years.

Coverage of the 2020 Dakar Rally will air in January on NBCSN.

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