Thursday, January 21, 2021
Riyadh – (dpa):
Eyes were tight on the stage of crowning the winners of the Saudi Dakar Rally 2021 last Friday in Jeddah, but Saudi Dania Aqeel, 32, a motorcycle driver, was interested in documenting the coronation of Argentine Kevin Benavides in the motorcycle category.
Dania is looking forward to competing in the global rally in 2022 with the support of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, which invited her for the second time to attend the rally and to friction with the contestants and watch the global event closely.
“In January 2020 during the first edition of the Saudi Dakar Rally, the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation contacted me, and I was invited to open the race in 2021 and I was happy to see the different companies and factories, the atmosphere and the public,” Dania says in an interview with the German News Agency.
Dania added, “It was beautiful moments, motor sport is truly one of the best activities that bring people together as well as drive the economy. In 2020, she participated in a two-day training during the Dakar Rally with a racing coach in the sand dunes in Wadi Al-Dawasir region, where it was a unique experience aimed at preparing.” Because I will participate in Dakar in the future, but I got injured right after that and I couldn’t think of participating this year. “
And about her start in the world of motorcycles, Dania said, “After completing my studies in Britain, I returned to work in the Middle East in Dubai, UAE, and I bought a motorcycle of the type (Ducati Panigale 959), and I used to drive it every weekend, and I had the opportunity to participate in A local Ducati cycling championship is there after taking the necessary tests. “
“I had a desire to participate in races there in the UAE, and so I contacted the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation to issue a letter of no objection to obtain the Emirati racing license, and they offered to obtain the Saudi license, which if I obtained it, she would become the owner of the first Saudi women’s license for cycling.” Fast fire, and it happened in 2019. It was a great feeling to have this support. “
“After obtaining the license, I participated in the UAE local championship and performed well for beginners, but my eyes were always at the higher levels, and everyone around me were professional drivers who would advise and support me, so I am very grateful to them, but I suffered in February 2020 because of An accident in Bahrain and I suffered a fracture in my pelvis, and I had to return to Jeddah for treatment, but thank God I recovered. Despite my emergency season, I won the Best Rising Driver of the Year award in Dubai.
Regarding her professionalism as a contestant, Dania says, “I do not currently see myself as a professional driver or an amateur. I always like to avoid names and definitions, because I see that she is restricting me at this stage. If I have the opportunity to participate in a race, I will definitely participate, but does that mean that I think that I am Professional contestant? No, because I have put some pressure on myself to continue participating in races all the time, and this is not my favorite way to live my life .. I prefer to have options always open to me. “
In response to the reason for choosing the desert light vehicle (SSV) category when participating in the rally, Dania revealed, “All those with more experience in this field, such as the Automobile and Motorcycle Union, and the team managers told me that this category is the best place to start, especially in If there is an expert navigator, it is also easier to drive than other groups, because it is designated for the desert. “
The Saudi driver confirmed, “With all due respect to the drivers of this category, I do not mean to say that it is an easy class in general, but I think it is best suited for people who do not have much experience in the Dakar Rally.”
In addition, the required budget for it is considered less than the car category, and this is a big advantage because providing the budget is easier for those who have experience and history in racing. As for those who do not have these specifications, it is better for them to use a vehicle with a lower cost.
Regarding the nature of female participation in the races, Dania pointed out, “I do not think that gender has a difference in the rally. Some men and women may find participation in the rally difficult, while other men and women may find it easier.”
“I don’t think that sex has a role in terms of being able to withstand the conditions of participating in the rally, and I think preparation, discipline, continuity and commitment are the important factors in the race,” Dania said.
Dania revealed, “To the Secretariat, I have not faced any major challenges. Many people ask me this question, but I do not consider my entry into the field of motorsport on the part of being a woman. Certainly I am a woman and I love being a woman, but in the world of sports specifically I have never felt a difference between a man and a woman.” .
“I am waiting for the appropriate support because the road is open and the doors are open, but in reality all the challenges I faced were related to the athletic aspect of racing.”
In response to her outlook on the future to participate in the upcoming Saudi Dakar Rally, Dania said, “There is still a year ahead of us since the Dakar Rally 2022, so I prefer not to be presented as the first Saudi to participate in the Dakar Rally because that has not happened yet, and things may change at any moment.”
“We do not know who will be the first Saudi woman to participate in the rally, and I have not deserved this title yet. The only thing that I can say that I was the first is that I am the first Saudi woman to obtain a motorcycle racing license,” Dania added.
Dania concluded her speech by saying, “Life changes every day and anything that may happen, so I try as much as possible to move away from names and titles out of respect for other Saudi women who may have a desire to participate in next year’s edition. I will be very happy to see them and the distinction they will achieve is a source of pride for me.” .