N°310 Prototipo ligero SOUTH RACING MIDDLE EAST

DANIA AKEEL

(sau)

Aficiones

Motorsports, writing, travelling

Sponsors

SAMF, Ministry of Sport, Boundless, EX Extreme, Ejar, Mobil, Tamer, Altawkilat, Mission Makers; The Mo Show Podcast

2022: first appearance

2021: Baja Saudi Arabia, Baja Jordan, Baja Hungary, Baja Poland, Baja Italy; winner of FIA T3 Baja World Cup 2021
UAE National Sportsbike Superseries, BMR600 Championship in Bahrain

Interview

“A good character-building event!”

For the past two years, some might have noticed Dania Akeel on the bivouac of the Dakar. The tall Saudi lady was indeed first invited by the Saudi motorsports federation and the Dakar organisers to come and visit the event, now established in her nation. That visit came with a few test drives in the dunes. A year later, the 33-year-old was more present than ever. Discussing with everyone, understanding the sport, test driving SSVs and even hosting the start and finish podiums of the Dakar. In the back of her mind: the big step up to finally be competing in the World’s toughest rally. Well that time has finally come. Dania Akeel who started her motosports career as a bike rider on circuit will indeed be behind the steering wheel of a T3 Can Am. During the year prior to her first Dakar, she learned fast, competing during the entire Baja season and actually conquering the FIA World Cup crown. Add to that a few driving sessions with the likes of Christian Lavieille to learn the basics. But Dania isn’t just a motorsports athlete and fanatic. Having achieved a bachelor’s degree in “Modern History and Politics” from the Royal Holloway University of London and then a Master’s degree in “International Business” at the Hult International Business School in the United-States, she combines her passion with consulting, motivational speaking and book writing. For her debut on the Dakar, the Jeddah native who will become with Mashael Alobaidan, the first Saudi woman to start the rally, will be part of the very experienced and competitive South Racing team and will have at her side another lady: Antonia De Roissard. The Dakar runs in the veins of the French 48-year-old. Her father Henri did the rally back in the eighties while she took part in the 2005 edition as the co-driver of Belgian Stéphane Henrard. Both are ambitious ladies and while finishing the Dakar is the first objective, they certainly have bigger ideas in the back of their minds.

D.A.: “Concerning the Dakar, It all started when the Saudi federation called me. They said: the Dakar rally is happening, we want to encourage women to participate. Would you like to come for a two day training? But I never thought of myself as a minority when it came to motorsports. I was just racing. There was no distinction really between us because in the end with motorsports, you have the same machines. I really love the Dakar atmosphere. It’s incredible. You learn so much because you’re speaking with people from all over the world. I’ve been getting physically prepared for this diligently for the past few months, as well as mentally. For me it’s a transformation process when you put yourself in a situation when you have to reach your limit and go beyond. I haven’t done anything that comes close to the Dakar. For sure the Bajas were a great practice in terms of getting knowledge of different terrain and how to take control of the car in unexpected situations and unfamiliar territory. From that perspective it allowed me to gain some resilience in terms of emotional management and facing conditions that I haven’t been through before. Winning the FIA Baja World Cup title means so much to me. My goal was always, in every round, to finish the race at a pace that was comfortable for me as a beginner. The Bajas have only been 2 or 3 days long and on the Dakar it’s going to be a completely different threshold that I’ll cross mentally, emotionally and physically. For any racer that goes to the Dakar for the first time, the goal is to finish. Finish the race in the best time that I’m capable of. I’m sure that every racer that goes to the Dakar finishes slightly differently than when they entered. I know some moments will be demanding but it’s a good character-building event. It forces you to get to a level of maturity that you haven’t reached before. We’ll find out the truth when I’m in there, but I look forward to it.”

Vehículo

SOUTH RACING MIDDLE EAST

CAN-AM MAVERICK X3
SOUTH RACING MIDDLE EAST

  • CAN-AM
  • MAVERICK X3
  • South Racing
  • South Racing Middle-East
  • P_T3_NO

Clasificación 2022

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