The route of the 2020 Dakar Rally, which will be held in Saudi Arabia for the first time, was announced in Paris on Wednesday.
Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al Faisal, President of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, announced the final details of the landmark event that will start on January 5 and end on January 17.
Former two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso will be on the starting line among the 351 vehicles taking part in the race that has switched hemispheres after being staged for years in Latin America.
The Dakar started its history as a rally between Paris and the capital of Senegal in West Africa, then switched to South America when security became a concern. Organizers say it will remain in the Arabian peninsula for at least five years.
The 2020 Dakar will set off from Jeddah on January 5 and end 7,800km and 12 days later in Qiddiyah.
The race will be "a real battle" said David Castera, the course director, involving 5,000 km of special stages with five of them exceeding 450 km.
The focus will also be on Alonso, the Formula One champion in 2005 and 2006 who is seeking new challenges in motor sport and singled out the Dakar as one of the toughest of them all.