The Dakar Rally organizer, the ASO, has announced that the second and third stages of this year’s edition will no longer be Marathon Stages following heavy rainfall in the Al Artawiyah bivouac.
The Marathon Stage was planned to run over the Ha’il-Al Artawiyah and Al Artawiyah-Al Qaisumah tests, with no outside mechanical assistance permitted.
Competitors were also required to sleep in tents with clothes and food bags as their only companion.
But heavy rain has flooded the Al-Artawiyah bivouac, meaning that Monday’s second stage of the Dakar will head straight to Al Qaisumah instead.
An ASO statement read: “Due to flooding at Al Artawiyah bivouac caused by heavy rainstorms, we are forced to move the finish of stage two to Al Qaisumah bivouac.
“The only impact will be on the selective sector B [liaison] of stage two.”
The ASO said that the only change to the route for SS3 would involve the second liaison from the end of the timed section.
It is understood that the organizer is working on finalizing the exact route to Al Qaisumah, which will be communicated to crews ahead of the stage.
Competitors will be able to recieve assistance in the tweaked second stage of the event, which will now be run over 491 miles, with the timed section remaining at 210 miles.
Nasser Al-Attiyah currently leads the event by 12 minutes over Sébastien Loeb after the first competitive stage.