This first edition of the Dakar in the Middle East is an opportunity for drivers from the region to shine at home. It is also an opportunity to get to know local talent.
Originally from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the 38 driver has the huge advantage of playing in his garden right now and getting to know the course on the tip of the pedals. Moreover, his results have been constantly improving over the last few years, finishing 7th in the 2019 Dakar standings. While he will no doubt be under extra pressure from racing in front of his compatriots, Yazeed Al-Rahji remains a serious contender for the podium, and even for the final victory.
“The businessman.” Yasir Hamad Seaidan is the son of a Saudi real estate entrepreneur, as well as an experienced pilot. World champion in desert rallying, he also finished third in the T2 category of the 2016 Dakar Rally. After an absence of 4 years, the Saudi Arabian returns, in front of his public, and on his home ground (he has already raced in the AlUla, Neom, and Qassim rallies), with the hope of winning, accompanied by his co-driver, the Frenchman François Cazalet.
Abdullah al Shatti
Whoever embarked on the Dakar adventure last year, unfortunately without success, is hoping to make up the numbers this year. The 34-year-old Kuwaiti driver will, therefore, attempt to drive his 450 KTM to the end of the race this year. After two months of training in the United Arab Emirates, and various races in the region, al Shatti will at least have the advantage of mastering the pitch.
This participation in the Dakar is a great first for Altwijri. Anyone who will be racing in a Toyota Land Cruiser is no novice to the off-road rallies, in which he has taken part in Jordan, AlUla, and Neom. In addition, he will be competing at home, with fellow countryman Khalid Almarshood as co-driver.