In 2008, when the Dakar Rally left Africa for Argentina, David Castera had to move his family to Buenos Aires. At that time, the Frenchman was the rally’s sporting director, responsible for designing the route and logistics management. In 2020, Castera is leading the third chapter of the legendary rally with the discovery of a new continent and a new country, Saudi Arabia. As the man in command at Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), the French company responsible for putting on the event, Castera revealed the huge organizational efforts behind this year’s edition of the race.
“It all started this past April,” Castera says. “In eight months, we had to recreate in Saudi Arabia the well-oiled organizational machine that was smoothly working in South America. We had to study the new country first in terms of terrain but also regulations. Here, for example, the bus and trucks can only travel during the night, so we had to redesign the whole logistics.”
In South America, all of ASO’s key vehicles were effectively doubled, so while a group of vehicles was moving from, say, stage one to stage three, the second half was heading to stage two and then stage four and so on to allow a consistent bivouac setup.
“Saudi Arabia has organized several top entertainment events but mainly in stadiums,” Castera explains. “The Dakar, on the contrary, is nomadic. To be on the safe side, as this is the first edition, we tripled all the key vehicles. All the logistics that were in South America remained there. We shipped vehicles from Dubai and mainly from Marseille.”