Floods force Dakar route rethink

Stage six of this year's event have been reduced due to the extreme conditions


The Dakar Rally organizer, the ASO, has announced that Friday’s sixth stage of the 2023 edition will be reduced by around 100km as a result of the heavy rain which hit the region this week.

The main issue surrounds the bivouac in Al-Duwadimi which has become flooded, leaving it unserviceable for the crews upon the completion of the 467km stage six which departs Ha’il tomorrow morning.

Therefore, the route has been altered by approximately 100km, with a link route taking crews to Riyadh before a possible return to Al-Duwadimi – where a loop stage is set to take place on Saturday.

That return is, according to the ASO, weather dependent.

The organizer said in a statement following Thursday’s fifth stage: “With the rain on the last few days having flooded the Al Duwadimi bivouac, it will not be possible to welcome the Dakar caravan.

“The sporting programs for stages six and seven have therefore been modified accordingly by the Dakar organizers.

“For January 6th, stage six will take place on the initially planned special, but over a distance reduced by approximately 100 kilometres. The riders, drivers and crews will then take a link route (of approximately 300 kilometres) to the bivouac in Riyadh.

“On January 7th, the competitors will contest the stage on the route of the special initially scheduled for stage 8 (Al Duwadimi > Riyadh). On completion of this special, if the weather conditions are favourable, the caravan will then journey to the bivouac in Al Duwadimi.”

The ASO also added that a decision on stage eight plans will be made nearer the time.

The Dakar halts for its rest day after stage eight on Monday.

Words:Stephen Brunsdon