Jeddah: The Saudi motorsport icon; Yazeed Al-Rajhi, put finishing touches on his final preparations to participate in the second edition of the Saudi Dakar Rally for the 2021 season; which will be held entirely on the homeland as Jeddah; will host the start and the finish of the 2021 edition from 3 to 15 January with a rest day in Ha’il on 9 January.
The 2021 version of the grueling 12-day marathon; will cross a distance of 7,646 km and 4,767 will be the special section.
This year will be the seventh consecutive participation of the Saudi champion, Yazeed as his star has shone since his debut in 2015 in the world’s toughest off-road race in the world and became the first Arab driver to join the Japanese manufacturer, Toyota; and the first Saudi to compete in the top level T1 class in Dakar.
Al-Rajhi has proven his racing; through all these years alongside big names in different rally raids around the world in young age.
Nevertheless, the homeboy Yazeed who had the best finish in 4th place on his home soil Dakar 2020 will defend the colors of the latest version of the all-new 2021 Toyota Hilux which has full support from Abdul Latif Jameel Motors.
However; the Hilux which has done its first-ever mileage in the Baja Hail Toyota fortnight ago; will be one of a six-car team Hilux of Overdrive Racing team.
Yazeed Al Rajhi: “I am very excited for Dakar this year, It’s slightly different than its previous years; because of the Covid-19 pandemic; but the most important thing is that we’re ready and looking forward for an exciting challenge”
“I’m also delighted with the car’s performance and balance we made in the last rally at Hail; where it was a great shakedown for Dakar 2021; the whole team have been working hard and are all highly motivate, I’m also delighted that my navigator; Dirk is back and we will do our best together in this Dakar”
On the other side, it is a great comeback for the German co-driver, Dirk von Zetswitz who missed Dakar 2020 due to his fatal accident in 2019 which prevented him to continue with Al-Rajhi throughout the 2019 season.
Dirk is extremely happy and excited for Dakar 2021; he said: “In 2019, I had a very bad accident and bad injuries which I thought my career was over and that I’m not able to support Yazeed, the feeling was so bad.”
I had a big injuries in my neck and back, but today I can’t believe I’m sitting beside Yazeed and came back to the car; I can’t believe it was just one year ago.
“I’m pleased, grateful and thankful to be back as I’m enjoying a lot and wishing the best for the race.”
“Im expecting a new experience in this Dakar as it’s my first time of Dakar in Saudi Arabia, It’s my 21st Dakar as I have competed in the last two chapters of Dakar (Africa and South America) I’ve done the classic Dakar route and I’m expecting a different Dakar,” he said.
“Not because of the terrain but with the new rules especially in the navigation as there will be the electronic roadbook which you only get it few minutes before the stage starts in the morning, Diffidently, it will be a unique experience and special Dakar for me,” he added.
“All in all, It’s new continent, new country for me; I had a long break since the accident, new navigation rules; no enough preparation due to the covid-19 pandemic, there’s no gathering no briefing; no socializing, everything is different this year so it’s a new experience for all of us”
“My big call is to finish in podium, that would make me very happy especially after my fatal accident”