Dakar Rally unveil 2021 route, defend Saudi as venue
Launched in 1979 between Paris and the Senegalese capital Dakar the celebrated endurance challenge moved to the kingdom for the first time this year after a decade in South America, sparking angry reaction from human rights organisations.
"And we aren't the only ones to come here - football, Formula E, boxing, and next year Formula 1, have also chosen the Saudi kingdom.
"We believe that it's more useful to be here and to talk about what's going on than to criticise from afar."
The 43rd edition sees a new class joining the collection of cars, bikes, quads, trucks, buggies and SSVs - with the Dakar Classic category confined to vehicles from the 1980s and 90s.
A raft of new safety measures include compulsory airbag vests for motorbike riders, aural warnings that will notify competitors in the approach to potential dangers with designated "slow zones" limiting the speed to 90km/h in especially tricky sectors.
The coronavirus pandemic forced organisers to delay plans to hold stages in neighbouring states Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
Looking to the years ahead Castera mapped out a vision of a greener Dakar with, by 2030, the entire motorised caravanserai powered by hydrogen.