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Racers Gear Up For Saudi’s Women-Only Rally Jameel

Good luck to all the women flying the flag…

Dania Akeel

Women from Saudi, the GCC, USA and Europe are getting ready for Saudi’s Rally Jameel, which is being held from March 17-19. While 15 nationalities are participating, twenty-two out of the thirty-four teams are actually from the Kingdom. Wherever they are from, the women, ranging from complete beginners to seasoned rally veterans, will be testing their limits as they take part in the exciting new women’s only off-road navigational rally.

The motorsport event, which is not designed as a speed test, is kicking off in the north-central city of Hail. The contestants will be taking in the sites of Al- Qassim city and then heading to the capital, Riyadh, via hidden checkpoints and challenges.

“Rally Jameel inspires a sense of adventure and discovery,” said Dania Akeel, who was the first Saudi to participate in the Dakar Rally in 2022 and is a well-renowned figure in the regional motorsport scene. “This rally will support the increasing number of women on the road to become comfortable behind the wheel and experience driving in a completely different way to driving on the road.”

The GCC will also be represented with the teams from the United Arab Emirates and Oman that have signed up. For most of them, this will be the first time they get to drive in Saudi Arabia after King Salman Al-Saud passed a decree recognising women’s rights to drive in September 2017.

Sanaa Al Shekaily

Competitor Sanaa Al Shekaili, who was first Omani racer from the GCC to participate in the 2020 Middle East Rally Championship, said, “Rally Jameel is my chance to renew the love I’ve had of challenges since my childhood, especially in the field of motor racing, where I have the ability to challenge myself and the other competitors in this distinguished GCC women-only event.”

Shekaili, who finished in third place and established the first women’s car club in Oman, added it’s thrilling to be part of the event. And in addition to empowering female Omani speed lovers, it is shining an international light on Omani women in the field.

As well as the teams from the region, including one from Egypt, there will be some flying into Saudi Arabia from much further afield. Three teams are coming from the USA, while one from Sweden and one from Spain will be standing for Europe.

Sedona Blinson

“Taking part in Rally Jameel, for me, is an incredible way to support women who are new to the scene of off-roading and motorsports,” said US-based competitor Sedona Blinson, who has previously participated in Rally Jameel’s inspiration, the Rebelle Rally. “My goal is to inspire more women to try their hand in motorsports and embrace new adventures. I am most looking forward to competing with an array of international teams and navigating the beautiful deserts of Saudi Arabia.”

The rally is open to any national and international entrant aged over 18, who holds a driving license accepted in Saudi Arabia. Although all cars must be a 4x4 or AWD, they need to be totally unmodified, erasing the need for special equipment.

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