RIYADH: Saudi motorsport star Yazeed Al-Rajhi has made a successful return to racing with a podium finish at the Andalucia Rally after recovering from an injury suffered in a crash at the Sharqiyah Baja earlier this year.
Al-Rajhi and German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz, who was standing in for injured regular partner Michael Orr, finished third in the opening round of the 2021 FIA Cross Country Rallies World Cup.
Driving a Toyota Hilux for Overdrive SA, the duo completed the four stages in a total time of 10 hours, 34 minutes, and 15 seconds over a distance of 426.68 kilometers.
Having just returned from injury, the Saudi driver had to adopt a somewhat more conservative style to avoid off-road mishaps, with the Spanish rally’s route distinguished by its technical and narrow trails.
Al-Rajhi said: “I’m happy that we’ve finished on the podium, third overall. It was four challenging days full of excitement, although I wasn’t pushing too hard and took a careful approach so that my neck was not affected by the bumps. It was my first participation after the accident.
“I really enjoyed this rally, and it worked like a training and qualification race for me to make a stronger comeback in the next rallies.”
Al-Rajhi also thanked his strategic partners Toyota and Abdul Latif Jameel Motors for their continued support.
Zitzewitz said he had been delighted to take part in the absence of Orr, who is still recovering from the Sharqiyah Baja crash.
“I’m happy with our results and happy to see Yazeed back behind the wheel after the accident. Actually, Yazeed’s driving style was completely different from what I have experienced before with him, he was very careful.
“It was important for Yazeed to get back in shape after the accident. We did a wonderful job together, and I was impressed by the confidence he possesses,” Zitzewitz added.