The Gulf already played host to one of the most exciting competitions last year when British-born Lewis Hamilton and Dutch-driver Max Verstappen met in Abu Dhabi for a final F1 race. This time, the skidded tracks will be heading to Saudi Arabia as the Kingdom will be organizing its first women-only motorsport event this month.
Inaugurated by His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Saad bin Abdulaziz, Rally Jameel kicked off this March 16 and will run for the days until the 19. Participants will compete by driving their way up from Hail, North-Western Saudi Arabia, to Al-Qassim City, before wrapping the event up in Riyadh on the last day. As the description of the race reads, “the rally is designed as a competition to test navigation and skills, not speed, through traveling on a predefined route between checkpoints (…)”.
“We host all kinds of sports in this region, especially extreme sports, and are always passionate in nurturing our local talent. This is especially true of the daughters of the Kingdom, who are about to take part in this significant race.” said Prince Abdulaziz bin Saad bin Abdulaziz in a press conference.
34 teams from 15 countries from all four corners of the globe will gather to represent their countries and take part in this unprecedented race that is set to become an annual meeting in the GCC racing calendar. Ranging from novices to amateurs and some veterans, the pioneering event is carrying a heavy load of commotion and enthusiasm that is by now getting more and more palpable as the race just kicked off yesterday.
“I’m a daughter, a wife and mother, as well as being a surgeon. But my passion for rallies started at a very young age, and I’ve learned over time how to manage my time between all my hobbies and commitments,” said Dr. Fatima Banaz, from the Kingdom’s Desert Healers team. “My aim is eventually to race in the Dakar Rally,” she also added.