In a landmark achievement, Saudi racer Dania Akeel has won in the T3 category at the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) World Cup for Cross Country Bajas, held in Italy. This makes Akeel, who participated in the championship for the first time, the first Saudi and Arab woman to win the title. Alongside the racer, The T1 title was secured by Yazeed Al-Rajhi, and the T4 title by Saleh Al-Saif, rounding up a successful weekend for Saudi Arabia at the event.
Held by the FIA, the competition is a 350-kilometer long cross-country rally race undertaken by a team of drivers, with each round hosted in a different city around the globe. Awards are given to drivers, co-drivers as well as teams. The T3 category is for Lightweight Prototype Cross-Country Vehicles.
Akeel has dedicated her win to Saudi Arabia, thanking the Kingdom’s Ministry of Sports, the Saudi Federation of Cars and Motorcycles, and the sponsoring companies for their “unlimited support.” Akeel’s win follows a serious injury she suffered last year, after which she wrote a book titled Freefall detailing the reflective period that materialized amid her recovery. No stranger to firsts, she is also the first Saudi Arabian woman to obtain a Speed Bikes Competition license and has also completed in bike rallies, winning the Rookie of the Year trophy during in her first motorcycle racing season – the Ducati Cup in the UAE National Sportsbike Superseries 2019/2020.
Competing in a CanAm Maverick X3, alongside Laurent Lichtleuchter and Stephane Dupel, she is set to participate in the famed Dakar Rally in 2022. She began her journey in the competition at Sharqiyah Baja in 2021, held in Saudi Arabia under the supervision of the FIA and the Saudi Arabia Motor Federation.