2023 Dakar Rally route breakdown released

The 2023 Dakar Rally, the fourth in Saudi Arabia, will run across the entire country in one of the longer editions in race history. Specifics of the fourteen-stage route were revealed on Thursday, less than six months after the initial course was released.

The fourteen stages are the most since 2018 in South America, while the 4,704 km in Special Stages just slightly fall short of the Saudi Arabia record of 4,767 in 2021. Unlike that year, however, the 2023 race will be a point-to-point event instead of a loop. In total, the race will cover 8,549 km.

The race begins on 31 December 2022 with a ten-km prologue stage on the Saudi west coast along the Red Sea, where the Sea Camp bivouac is situated. The new year is rung in with a loop starting and ending at the Sea Camp totalling 368 km in Special Stages before heading to Al-‘Ula the next day. After reaching Ḥaʼil, another loop takes place for Stages #4 and #5.

Dawadmi, also known as Al Duwadimi, is the midway point as the finish to Stage #6, a loop for the seventh (the longest stage of the fourteen at 473 km), and continuing to Riyadh for the eighth. Riyadh, the Saudi capital, is not unfamiliar with motorsport outside of rally raid as the city has hosted Formula E since 2018, and it will also be the site of the Rally’s rest day on 9 January.

After the day off, teams will race towards Haradh followed by Shaybah. Stage #11 is held exclusively in Rub’ al Khali, or the “Empty Quarter”, which is part of one of the largest deserts in the world and a popular site for filming desert environments.

“This gigantic zone in which sand is king, especially in its most majestic form: dunes,” commented race director David Castera.

The twelfth and thirteenth stages see the return to Shaybah and trip to Al-Hofuf. Finally, Stage #14 on 15 January will be a 136-km dash from Al-Hofuf to Dammam.

2023 Dakar Rally route

Stage Start Finish Total Distance Special Stage Distance Date
Prologue Sea Camp Sea Camp 10 km 10 km 31 December 2022
1 Sea Camp Sea Camp 603 km 368 km 1 January 2023
2 Sea Camp Al-‘Ula 590 km 431 km 2 January
3 Al-‘Ula Ḥa’il 669 km 447 km 3 January
4 Ḥa’il Ḥa’il 573 km 425 km 4 January
5 Ḥa’il Ḥa’il 646 km 375 km 5 January
6 Ḥa’il Dawadmi 876.68 km 466 km 6 January
7 Dawadmi Dawadmi 641.47 km 473 km 7 January
8 Dawadmi Riyadh 722.41 km 407 km 8 January
Rest Riyadh Riyadh 9 January
9 Riyadh Haradh 710 km 439 km 10 January
10 Haradh Shaybah 623 km 114 km 11 January
11 Shaybah Empty Quarter 426 km 275 km 12 January
12 Empty Quarter Shaybah 375 km 185 km 13 January
13 Shaybah Al-Hofuf 669 km 154 km 14 January
14 Al-Hofuf Dammam 414 km 136 km 15 January