Dakar and Saudi Arabia Commit to a Sustainable Future

Dakar and Saudi Arabia Commit to a Sustainable Future

02.11.2021: The Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation welcomes a new exciting era of motorsport as a revised Dakar category allows innovation to develop electric and hydrogen vehicles

The Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation welcomes a new exciting era of motorsport as a revised Dakar category allows innovation to develop electric and hydrogen vehicles

Saudi Arabia will be at the centre of a motorsport revolution next January, as a new category in Cross-Country regulations opens up the Dakar Rally to alternative technologies.

The decision to rubber-stamp the ‘T1 Ultimate’ class at the FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting on 15th October, enables manufacturers to develop a mixture of vehicles powered by either electric motors, hybrids or combustion engines fuelled by hydrogen.

The approval of the T1 Ultimate (T1.U) category ensures Saudi Arabia will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the automobile industry, as the challenging Dakar Rally offers ideal conditions for manufacturers to test pioneering technologies. The T1.U is the first phase in a future where all classes in the Dakar will be powered by low-emission energies by 2030.

This significant development will elevate the profile of the 44th running of the Dakar Rally - which is being held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the third time - and following regulatory agreement between FIA and A.S.O., will form the opening round of the brand new FIA World Rally-Raid Championship.

On 2nd January 2022, the fortnight long Dakar commences in the stunning Ha’il desert, before taking competitors to Riyadh. Afterwards the showpiece Rally-Raid heads westwards across the Kingdom to the shores of the beautiful Red Sea and will finish at the historic port city of Jeddah, close to where the new Jeddah Corniche Circuit has been constructed for the Formula 1 stc Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2021.

The 9,000km off-road navigation across the beautiful Arabian desert, is not only a test of endurance for both drivers and co-drivers, but a perfect opportunity for manufacturers to showcase new, dynamic technology in extreme conditions. The race to find solutions to reduce emissions supports the FIA’s long-term environmental strategy and fits in with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 for a sustainable future.

The arrival of T1.U will ensure both the Dakar Rally and the FIA World Rally-Raid Championship will be more attractive to manufacturers to showcase their SUVs with exciting developments in power unit technology.

Audi have already committed to the new series and in January, the German firm will debut their RS Q e-Tron, which has electric motors for each axle, in addition to a DTM-spec combustion engine to power the battery. More manufacturers are looking to Dakar from 2023 onwards when hydrogen solutions will offer a low-emission alternative.

HRH Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, Chairman of the Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) welcomed the announcement of the new T1 Ultimate Rally-Raid class that will promote a sustainable future:
“Firstly we are delighted that FIA and A.S.O. have reached an agreement for Dakar to become the opening round of the new FIA World Rally-Raid Championship. As a showpiece event for Cross-Country it is a positive step for all the stakeholders that Dakar forms part of a World Championship.”

“I’m also delighted with the establishment of the T1 Ultimate category that will offer a showcase for manufacturers competing with alternative and experimental technologies. The extreme conditions of the Dakar have always made the rally a tough proving ground for competitors and the new freedoms of this T1.U class will only serve to grow interest in Dakar to the wider world. I’m very proud Saudi Arabia and Dakar are providing the platform for the automotive industry to test innovations that will shape a carbon-free future in the fight for climate action.”   

Yann Le Moënner, CEO of Amaury Sport Organisation, said:
"Dakar 2022 marks a new era for rally-raid in more ways than one. As we move through a restructuring of the discipline around an FIA World Championship, we are seeing the beginning of a virtuous circle, leading an energy transition in an attempt to achieve "zero emissions" by 2030.

The creation of the T1-Ultimate category can be seen as the foundations of a building: numerous pioneering vehicles of the modern era will take on the Saudi desert with alternative engines, paving the way for all manufacturers building their own projects. We share this strategy with Saudi Arabia in the medium term, where the authorities wish to commit to a global transformation between now and 2060 and whose involvement will help to transform our sport in an efficient way."

In addition to the T1 Ultimate category, the FIA also announced further Cross-Country updates to bring them in line with A.S.O./Dakar regulations. This ensures consistency for competitors across all rounds of the championship. There is further enhancement to the existing T1 specification, with improvements to suspension travel and wheel sizes, (to create T1+) and new regulations for T5 prototype trucks were also given the green light.

Points in the new championship will be weighted for marathon events with 50 points awarded to the winner (30 points for a rally winner) with scoring down to 15th place. World Championship titles will be presented at the end of the season to Manufacturers, Drivers and Co-Drivers with further awards for T3, T4 and T5 categories.

The opening round of the FIA World Rally-Raid Championship will be the centrepiece Dakar Rally 2022, which will commence on 2nd January at the old commercial crossroads in the Ha’il desert. Lying ahead of the competitors are 12 gruelling stages across hot and arid desert, with a mixture of sandy and rocky terrain, requiring skilful off-road navigation across a rigorous two-week campaign.

Organised by A.S.O. in conjunction with FIA and SAMF (Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation) and other local authorities, the 44th running of the Dakar Rally will run to nearly 10,000km across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with stages that will include two loop stages and one marathon stage. The FIA World Rally-Raid Championship is the seventh motorsport discipline under FIA governance and will be promoted by A.S.O. (Amaury Sport Organisation) for the next five years.

For More Details Please Visit https://www.dakar.com/en/


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02.11.2021 / MaP

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