Dakar Rally 2022: Race Dates, Schedule, Live Stream and TV InfoJanuary 2, 2022
A field of nearly 1,000 people will be covering more than 5,000 miles of Saudi Arabia during the 2022 Dakar Rally, a 12-stage event that will be taking place between New Year's Day and January 14. The competitors will be in off-road vehicles and motorcycles while racing across desert, dunes, mountains and more.
This is the third consecutive year that the Dakar Rally is being held in Saudi Arabia. From 1979-2007, the race began in Paris and ended in Dakar, Senegal. It took place in South America from 2009-19 before being moved to Saudi Arabia in 2020.
The 2022 event will have a different course than the previous two years. It began with Saturday's qualifying stage that started in Jeddah, and it will end in the city where it started.
Here's everything else you need to know about this year's Dakar Rally.
2022 Dakar Rally Stage Schedule, TV Coverage
Sunday, Jan. 2: Stage 1B, Ha'il Loop Stage, 8 p.m. ET
Monday, Jan. 3: Stage 2, Ha'il to Al Artawiyah, 8 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Jan. 4: Stage 3, Al Artawiyah to Al Qaysumah, 8 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Jan. 5: Stage 4, Al Qaysumah to Riyadh, 8 p.m. ET
Thursday, Jan. 6: Stage 5, Riyadh Loop Stage, 8 p.m. ET
Friday, Jan. 7: Stage 6, Riyadh Loop Stage, 8 p.m. ET
Saturday, Jan. 8: Rest Day
Sunday, Jan. 9: Stage 7, Riyadh to Al Dawadimi, 8 p.m. ET
Monday, Jan. 10: Stage 8, Al Dawadimi to Wadi Ad Dawasir, 7 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Jan. 11: Stage 9, Wadi Ad Dawasir Loop Stage, 7 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Jan. 12: Stage 10, Wadi Ad Dawasir to Bisha, 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Jan. 13: Stage 11, Bisha Loop Stage, 7 p.m. ET
Friday, Jan. 14: Stage 12, Bisha to Jeddah, 7:30 p.m. ET
Coverage airs on the Olympic Channel or can be streamed on the NBC Sports app.
The 2022 Dakar Rally got underway Saturday with the 19-kilometer qualifying stage. And there were some familiar names at the top of the leaderboard for the cars class by the time the prologue was over.
Nasser Al-Attiyah, a three-time winner of the Dakar Rally, finished in first. Carlos Sainz, the 2020 champion, finished second. Both are expected to be among the contenders again this year.
Al-Attiyah won the Dakar Rally in 2011, 2015 and 2019, so he's looking for his first victory in Saudi Arabia. Sainz is also a three-time winner, with his victories coming in 2010, 2018 and 2020.
Although it's been three years since Al-Attiyah won the Dakar Rally, he's performed well thereafter, finishing second in both 2020 and 2021.
"I hope this Dakar will be for us because after two podiums in Saudi Arabia with second and second, I think this is the right time now to win Dakar," Al-Attiyah said, per Rachit Thukral of Autosport.com. "I'm ready, physically, mentally."
Al-Attiyah edged Sainz by 12 seconds during Saturday's qualifying stage, so he's off to a strong start.
Stephane Peterhansel became a 14-time Dakar Rally champion when he won the event in 2021. Nobody has won more titles than the 56-year-old, and he could be in the running for another victory this year.
Peterhansel finished 14th in Saturday's qualifying stage, but it seems that was intentional on his part.
"The strategy this morning was to drive really slowly, to check everything and not to be in the first 10," Peterhansel said, per Stephen Brunsdon of DirtFish. "This is the time to make no mistakes."
Now that the prologue is complete, the Dakar Rally will get started in earnest with a loop stage in Ha'il on Sunday. That's the first of six stages over the next six days. After a rest day, the final six stages will take place from Jan. 9-14.