The most challenging and most unprecedented Dakar to date awaits the Monster Energy Honda Team

2019-11-21 15:27
With a month and a half left before the 2020 edition of the Dakar Rally gets underway, today saw the definitive presentation of the race at the Arab World Institute in Paris, an apt setting given that the entire race will take place in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia as the sole host country.

The venue chosen for the official presentation, a cultural centre dedicated to the Arab world, hosted a selection of some of the riders and most of the team managers involved, amongst which featured the Monster Energy Honda Team, represented by General Manager Ruben Faria. The 2020 Dakar Rally, the 42th edition of the world’s most exciting yet most arduous off-road race, will be held from January 5-17 on Saudi Arabian terrain.

Rally Director, David Castera, gave an impassioned presentation of this new chapter in Dakar Rally history. The images exhibited by the organisers show an intriguing route that will cover many terrain types, included some unchartered desert regions in the south east of the country.

A total of some 7800 kilometres await the competitors who will get the race underway from Jeddah, on the banks of the Red Sea, until they arrive at entertainment megaproject Al-Qiddiya, after a rest day in the capital Riyadh. Riders will have to tackle over 400 kilometres of timed special on seven different stages, the longest of which clocks up 546 kilometres on day seven. The rally will thus include some 5100 kilometres against the clock and 2750 of liaison sections, with 75% of the entire race battled out in the sand. Among some of the new features unveiled today, were the Super Marathon stage, where riders will be unable to receive outside mechanical assistance, not even from their own team-mates and one Marathon stage in the second week of competition. The new colour roadbook, after being tested and approved at the recent Rallye du Maroc, will now make its official debut. For some stages the roadbooks will be issued just minutes prior to the start of the competition.

Among the 351 vehicles taking part in the 42nd edition of the Dakar, will be the Monster Energy Honda Team’s five Honda CRF450 RALLY bikes entrusted to the five official factory rider entrants in the race: Kevin Benavides, Ricky Brabec, José Ignacio Cornejo, Aaron Maré and Joan Barreda, who, with a tenth appearance at the odyssey, acquires the status of ‘Dakar Legend’.

The vehicles set to take part in the 2020 Dakar Rally will undergo verifications at the Paul Ricard circuit in the south east of France before embarking at the port of Marseilles on December 4. The equipment will be collected from the port of Jeddah on the Red Sea ahead of the race-start scheduled for January 5.

2020 Dakar Rally

Date Stage Start Finish Km. Special Km. Link Km. Total
5/1 1 Jeddah Al Wajh 319 433 752
6/1 2 Al Wajh Neom 367 34 401
7/1 3 Neom Neom 404 84 489
8/1 4 Neom Al Ula 453 223 676
9/1 5 Al Ula Ha’il 353 210 563
10/1 6 Ha’il Riyadh 478 352 830
11/1 Rest day Riyadh
12/1 7 Riyadh Wadi Al-Dawasir 546 195 741
13/1 8 Wadi Al-Dawasir Wadi Al-Dawasir 474 240 713
14/1 9 Wadi Al-Dawasir Haradh 415 476 891
15/1 10 Haradh Shubaytah 534 74 608
16/1 11 Shubaytah Haradh 379 365 744
17/1 12 Haradh Qiddiya 374 73 447
5097 2759 7856


Ruben Faria
General Manager
Today we attended a great presentation of the 2020 Dakar in Paris. From the videos that have been shown to us, we have seen landscapes that make us dream and look forward to the New Year. David Castera, the Race Director, announced, among other things, that there will be a Super Marathon stage as early as day two, where riders can only touch the motorcycle for ten minutes once the day is finished. As we already experienced in Morocco, in addition to not being able to receive mechanical help from the team, parts cannot be exchanged with other pilots. It will be very difficult to have a stage like that so early on. After the break in Riyadh we will have, towards the end, another Marathon stage between stages 10 and 11. It will be a Dakar full of very tough days, with a first week in the mountains, rocky ground and off-piste and we expect a second week with many dunes. We will have the roadbook in colour, as we have already seen in Morocco, and on several days they will give it to us right before the start of racing. So it will be a very challenging Dakar, not only for the riders, but also for all of the teams, the assistance and the organization.

Source: Honda Racing Corporation

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