The Saudi Dakar Rally 2021 opened new vistas for young Saudi women who are passionately in love with motorsport. They developed the flair similar to their male counterparts. While displaying an equally competitive spirit in racing for recognition and a prize.
The world-renowned rally, which kicked off on Sunday from Jeddah, sees the debut participation of a Saudi women's team. The racers — Dania Aqeel and Mashael Al-Obaidan — are participating in the rally for the first time in their sports careers.
Dania said that her objective of registering in the second edition of the Saudi Dakar Rally this season; is not only for participation, but also for competition. "We participate in the local Saudi rallies for development and training," she said.
Dania has been practicing her favorite hobby ever since her childhood. With her ardent love and passion for motorcycling; she prepared herself to accept and adapt to the risks of this adventurous sport.
She has been in love with desert car racing since childhood, but she had always dreamed of professionally driving motorcycles when she grew up. Her penchant for the bikes was due to the fact that it requires commitment, fitness, and mental and physical discipline.
She was encouraged and supported in her dream of emerging as a competitive rider by her father; who too is a motorcycle enthusiast.
Dania, one of the very few Saudi women in the world of motorcycles; aspires to give a strong showing in the Dakar Rally. She has been trained by professional international trainers in this field in the United Arab Emirates and Spain.
Dania started the racing season in the UAE and won the Rocky Cup for the new competitors that encouraged beginners; then participated in the Bahrain season, but she suffered a traffic accident in February 2020 and sustained four bone fractures.
The Saudi star obtained the official license from the Saudi Federation of Automobiles and Motorcycles and passed the exams in the UAE.
That's why the federation took the initiative to encourage her to enter the rally. Dania came to an agreement with a Polish training team to prepare for the upcoming rallies.
"Mashael Al-Obaidan and I are currently participating in the Saudi local rallies with the Dust Racing team. We also established the Shiro Rally Team, a team that brings me and Mashael together.
"We are still in the process of developing this team, which we aspire to have sponsors for, and we will start registering and participating in local rallies," she said.
With the opening of the borders; Dania said, they will go to Abu Dhabi for Desert Challenge race as well as to prepare for Dakar 2022. Dania said that the long-term action plan of the Shiro team opened the way for Saudi girls to fulfill their dreams by entering competitive car racing.
"The team will take its first steps in the Saudi Desert Rally Championship next year; with the support of the Ministry of Sports, and under the supervision of the Saudi Federation of Automobiles and Motorcycles.
"Despite the team being young, Dania's ambition is to open the door for girls to register in the entire Gulf countries, as a long-term plan; with the aim of training and qualifying them to join a professional women's team, to participate in rallies," she also added.