Due to forecasted difficult weather, the organizers of the Dakar have decided to reverse the program scheduled for this weekend, and the 7th and 8th stages will take place in a marathon format.
It’s not just in France that the weather is predicted to be very gloomy for this weekend. This will also be the case in Saudi Arabia, and this has consequences for the Dakar, already disturbed by the rain on Tuesday, which had forced the organizers to shorten the 3rd stage. This Friday, they announced that the two stages of Saturday and Sunday would be reversed, and would be held in the form of a marathon format. According to the regulations, this format (which will also be that of the 12th stage, next Friday) takes place without any assistance vehicle and without any member of the Team/Assistance, and without external assistance. But this weekend it will be adapted, with assistance allowed for two hours.
Rest Monday, as planned
“The weather forecasts preventing the operation of the bivouac of Al Duwadimi on a complete reception scheme for the caravan, stages 7 and 8 have been arranged in marathon format in order to be able to offer an equivalent and relevant sports program to the competitors, says the Dakar press release. Starting from the initial route, the specials of stages 7 and 8 have been swapped, with a shortening of the distance allowing for good management of the liaison mileage for each of the days. For stage 7, to be contested on Saturday January 7 (Riyadh – Al Duwadimi), the special will be played out over 333 kilometers. As the competitors have not anticipated a real marathon stage at this stage of the race, an assistance zone will be organized after the finish of the special (liaison, 94 km), for a maximum duration of intervention of two hours. The pilots and crews will then take the direction of Al Duwadimi (240 kilometer link) where their vehicles will be parked in a closed park. Stage 8, Sunday January 8, will make the return trip to Riyadh, with the program of the loop initially planned for stage 7 cut by 128 kilometers. The clock will therefore be set off over 345 kilometers, then the competitors will head for the bivouac in Riyadh. . The rest day remains at the Riyadh site on January 9, and the Dakar will then resume according to the initial schedule… under the sun! »