JEDDAH: On Tuesday, March 7, the second edition of Rally Jameel will kick off with the tech inspection and registration at AlUla.
Fifty teams will take part in the off-road rally in Saudi Arabia — the first all-women off-road navigation rally.
With a 1,600 km route that starts in AlUla and ends in Qassim via Hail, the rally is focused on testing navigation and skills on a route that varies between 300 to 500 km per day over the course of five days. The route will feature checkpoints and navigation through heritage sites, with exciting details to unfold.
The endurance competition is based on precision driving and navigating — not the fastest speed — using maps, compasses, roadbooks, and strategy.
This year, teams hail from 11 countries. Each team consists of a driver, navigator, and their vehicle, with no support crews allowed.
The rally is being held under the patronage of Princess Reema bint Bandar, the Kingdom’s ambassador to the US, and under the umbrella of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation with recognition from the FIA Women in Motorsport Committee.
A press conference held on Wednesday at Hussain Jameel Hall was attended by Munir Khoja, managing director of marketing communication at Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, Abdullah Bakhashab, organizer of Rally Jameel, and other event participants.
Khoja told Arab News that this year’s edition is going to be different in terms of distance and days.
“Our valued proposition at Abdul Latif Jameel is ‘Take on Tomorrow,’ which means tomorrow will not happen if you don’t begin,” Khoja said. “We prepared a platform for all women to begin and that’s what Rally Jameel achieved in its first edition, when we had new female drivers who had never before engaged in any races, and as a result we have witnessed more than four participants (turn) professional … and took part in various local and regional rallies. So, this is what Rally Jameel is all about.”
He said Rally Jameel aims to encourage more women to get involved in motorsport and rallying, and recognizes that a modern nation must encourage and empower all members of society in all forms, including sport.
Bakhashab told Arab News: “The second edition of Rally Jameel coincides with International Women’s Day, which affirms our commitment to empowering women and honing the potential of the next generation of leaders and athletes.
“This year’s track will be extended to 1,600 km, crossing AlUla, Hail and Qassim. The first day of the event on March 7 will cover team registrations, followed by the AlUla stage on March 8, with participants moving on to the AlUla-Hail stage on March 9, followed by Hail-Hail on March 10, and finally to Hail-Qassim on March 11.”
In her message via video from Washington, Princess Reema praised organizers for offering the participants an opportunity to demonstrate their determination and skill.
During the press conference, Saudi driver Maha Al-Hamly, who finished third in last year’s Rally Jameel, shared her success story and described it as a turning point of her life.
The first edition of Rally Jameel was designed to follow road and off-road routes that started from Hail to Qassim and on to Riyadh for over three days and 1,000 km. With over 34 teams from 15 countries, several well-known rally racers and motorsports champions were involved, alongside emerging entrants who had their first motorsports experience.
Since 1997, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors has been committed to creating opportunities and bolstering Saudi Arabia’s motorsports scene. Offering a world-class sporting event, Rally Jameel is the perfect opportunity for adventurous women with a passion for motorsports and off-roading.