All aboard the Saudi truck
January 14 th 2021 - 08:54 [GMT + 3]
Ibrahim Almunha, Osama Alsamad, Raed Abo Theeb and their Mercedes Unimog continue to make their way towards Jeddah at their own pace.
The Mercedes Unimog no. 540, the only truck with a 100% Saudi crew, has been advancing at a leisurely pace since the start of the race in Jeddah. Ibrahim Almunha, Osama Alsamad and Raed Abo Theeb, racing in class T5 for original vehicles, have been consistently the last truckers to reach the finish of the specials. "We haven't been sleeping much", says Ibrahim, the driver. "We pulled an all-nighter in the marathon stage because we only reached the bivouac at five in the morning. Our gearbox gave us grief throughout the whole special. It was awful. By the time we'd finished patching up our truck at the finish, it was time to get going again… We knew the Dakar was tough, but it was even tougher than I imagined." Yet Almunha is far from being a rookie. The Saudi driver, a member of the national security forces (his main sponsor), has already got 145 rallies under his belt. He has raced in the T1 and T2 classes, mainly in the Middle East, but also in international events, shining in races such as the Pharaons Rally. Despite their setbacks, Ibrahim and his crewmates are having a blast at the Dakar. "The landscapes are jaw-dropping", admits the man who has voiced his pride at being part of the only Saudi crew that owns its truck