Dakar 2021 : Opening of the registrations on June, 15th !

Official name: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Regime type: Monarchy (Saud dynasty)
Administrative capital: Riyadh
State religion: Sunni Islam
Head of State and the government: His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Guardian of the Two Holy Places (Mecca and Medina)
Crown Prince: His Royal Higness Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Chairman of the General Sports Authority: His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal Al Saud
President of the Saudi Arabian Motorsports Federation: His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Faisal Al Saud
Vice-President of the Saudi Arabian Motorsports Federation: Mr. Abdullah Salem Bakhashab

  • Surface Area: 2 250 000 km2 > 4 times bigger than France
  • Population:  33 000 000 inhabitants / Density: 15,5 inhab per km2
  • Time zone : 1 hour more than in Paris
  • Arid Climate: v  High temperatures during the day and steep drop at night (between -5 and 0°)
  • Various geographies:
    • In the West : Red Sea coast / Canyons (up to an altitude of 2000m in the North)
    • In the East : Rocky and sandy plains / natural oil fields
    • In the South : Rub Al-Khali desert (650 000 km2) / almost exclusively sand
  • 57% of men and 43% of women
  • 65% of the population are under 26
  • Between 30 and 40% of the population in major cities speak english.
  • >Increase from 13% to 23% of sport practice
  • The most popular sport is the football and then Motorsports, basketball, boxing, tennis, wrestling...
  • Women and Men can travel and shop freely
  • The import and consumption of alcohol and pork are formally prohibited in Saudi Arabia and are subject to legal proceedings
  • Drug consumption is heavily penalized anc could be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
  • Imported cultural products (DvDs, books, magazines…) must be compatible with local and decency laws (no explicit content)
  • Clothing:
    • Men: Mandatory long trousers and authorised T-Shirts in the cities
    • Women: Abbaya (traditional long black robe) is not mandatory in public areas, as long as the outfit is modest.
  • In the cities:
    • Individuals (men and women) can travel freely in the cities 
    • Dakar participants (press, pilots, …) will be able to visit safely the Saudi cities (Start in Jeddah / Finish near to Riyadh)
  • Driving:
    • Speed limit: 140km on large highways / 120km on smaller highways / 100km on highways inside the cities
    • Cars drive on the right, seatbelts are mandatory, and the vehicle must be insured
    • Individuals (men and women) can drive freely in the country
  • The usual greeting is a handshake
  • Tips are not mandatory but recommended for restaurants and taxis (about 10%)
  • Currency: Saudi Riyal (SAR)
    • a.       1 EUR = 4,2 SAR
    • b.       1 USD = 3,7 SAR
  • Dollars and euros are not accepted as payment (many currency exchange offices)
  • Credit cards are widely used
  • Dakar participants (press, pilots, …) will be able to visit safely the Saudi cities (Start in Jeddah / Finish near to Riyadh)
  • An exceptional cultural and natural heritage with 5 UNESCO Sites
    • Ad-Dirriyah ruins
    • Hail region rock art
    • Jeddah city
    • Al Hijr (Al Ula) archaeological site
    • Al-Ahsa oasis
  • All social networks are free access everywhere. Saudi is one of the highest countries in terms of number of users in the world per capita for social media.
  • Sometimes, phone calls via Whatsapp can be blocked. But Skype, Facetime or Hangout calls are working perfectly
  • Huge usage on mobile devices to stream video and TV
  • Access to internet is free, but certain websites are blocked as they go against local customs (explicit content)
  • National sim cards can be purchased locally
  • Road network
    • The road network is in very good condition and most large cities are well connected
    • Public transportation in big cities but not reliable
    • Taxis/Uber/Careem available in all cities
  • Distances between the main cities
    • Djeddah – Riyad : 950km drive (about 9h10)
    • Djeddah – Neom : 970 km drive (ab. 9h30)
  • Airport system
    • Jeddah and Riyadh major airports
    • From Paris and Frankfurt: About 6h flight
    • National company : Saudia Airlines
    • Domestic flights are especially secure
  • Visas:
    • Electronic visas may be obtained for the Dakar, 2 months before the event
    • Everyone is welcomed to come and visit Saudi Arabia (pilots, families, friends, spectators, tourists, press…)
    • A platform will be shared to everyone interested to download e-visa and visit Saudi Arabia for the Dakar event
  • Customs:
    • Simplify customs process will be implemented for the vehicles arriving for the Dakar
    • Heavy and electronic equipment must be declared in advance. A template will be provided by A.S.O.

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