A little under two weeks before the start of the 2021 Dakar, the entire event is at risk of being cancelled. The world’s most important rally raid is now in doubt due to the Saudi government’s decision to close its borders in an attempt to contain the latest wave of Covid-19.
For now, flights have been cancelled for seven days, but the decision may be extended for another week, preventing riders and teams from reaching Saudi Arabia in time. The only way to allow the Dakar circus to reach Gedda would be to use private jets, which would exponentially raise the costs.
In addition, those arriving from European countries should quarantine for fourteen days before being allowed to enter the country, thus missing a good part of the race, before repeating an anti-Covid test every five days.
The hope, as announced by the Saudi Minister of Interior, is that the latest Covid-19 developments are less serious than expected, so that everyone will be able to take part in the event.
Translated by Heather Watson