Riyadh – Races for the fifth edition of the Saudi Dakar Rally 2024 will begin tomorrow, Friday, with elite drivers and riders from around the world taking part.
Saudi Arabia on Wednesday unveiled the final preparations for the fifth consecutive year of the world's most challenging motorsport and rally competition, an official statement said.
The participants are scheduled to start from Al Ullah, a tourist town located in northwestern Saudi Arabia, and the competitions will conclude on January 19 in Yanbu (on the Red Sea coast).
This year's drivers will begin their journey from the starting camp in Al-Ula before embarking on a journey that crosses several cities in Saudi Arabia. -Salamiyah, Al-Hofuf, Shubaita, Riyadh, Hail and Yanbu, the total distance is 7,891 kilometers, of which 4,827 kilometers are subject to special stage timings.
This year, 10 Saudi drivers will compete: Yazid Al-Raji in the “T1” category and Ibrahim Al-Muhanna in the “Stock” category, along with Saleh Al-Saif, Tania Aqeel and Mashel Al-Obaidan. In the “T3” category, Yasser bin Saidan and Maha Al-Hamli will participate in the “T3″ category. T4”, Tariq Al-Rammah competes in the “T5” category, Abdul Halim Al-Muqeera competes. In the motorcycle category, Hani Al-Noumsi competes in the quads category.
Veteran Saudi driver Yasid Al Rajhi returns to the Saudi Dakar Rally for the tenth consecutive time, where he will compete in the “D+1 Prototype” category driving a Hilux Overdrive car with the Overdrive Racing team.
During the 2022 edition, Al Rajhi finished third in the overall standings as they climbed the podium of the Ancient Rally for the first time in its history.
However, in the last edition, the Saudi star's participation in the Dakar Rally did not happen as he was in the top three till the sixth day, but it all collapsed when he faced mechanical problems en route to Riyadh. His chances of winning and he finished the race in 37th place, but Al-Raji is still one of the winning candidates, according to Saudi media.
On the other hand, in the “T3” category, driver Tania Aqeel, riding in the “Taurus T3” vehicle and the “Weavers Sport” team, returns to participate in the Saudi Dakar Rally for the third time in a row.
Tania has become the first woman in the world to win the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country in the T3 category in 2021. She was one of the first two Saudi female drivers to complete the Dakar Rally. And after finishing eighth in the “T3” category in her first participation in 2022, she became the first Arab woman to finish the race in the top ten.
Last year, Tania ran into problems on the fourth day of the competition, which prevented her from improving her overall ranking, and she finished the rally in 28th place.
For the third year in a row, driver Mashel Al-Obaidan will compete in the Saudi Dakar Rally, riding a “Can-M” vehicle. Mashael is the first Saudi woman to be licensed to participate in rallies. She was one of the first two Saudi women to finish and win the 2022 Saudi Dakar Rally in 17th place, after finishing 24th last year.
For his part, Saudi driver Maha Al-Hamli is preparing to make his first appearance in the prestigious rally as he competes in the “T4” category in the “BRP” vehicle and within the “Dark Horse” team.
Maha is the third Saudi driver to compete in the Saudi Dakar Rally after Mashael Al-Obaidan and Dania Aqeel.
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