motorsports, writing, travelling
Toyota, Abdul Lateef Jameel Motors, Tamer, BF Goodrich, Magrabi, Mobil 1, PR Arabia, Red Bull
2023: 28th (T3)
2022: 8th (T3)
2022: Baja Russia, Baja Jordan, Baja Italy, Baja Spain, Baja Poland, Baja Portugal, Baja Saudi, Baja Dubai Second of the FIA T3 Baja World Cup 2022
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
“I love the Dakar because it tests you!”
It was her destiny. To compete on the world’s greatest rally on home soil. And to become the first Saudi lady, with Mashael Al Obaidan to start and finish the rally. Dania Akeel was first invited by the Saudi motorsports federation and the Dakar organisers to come and visit the event. Several test drives and experiences on various other rallies eventually led to that big step up. Dania Akeel started her motorsports career as a bike rider on circuit but she 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 managed the performance to finish in the Top 10 in T3 class (8th). It didn’t go quite as well the following year (2023) suffering a massive set back on day 4 that prevented her from bettering her overall position (28th). Dania is a lady of challenges who thrives on testing herself and getting out of her comfort zone and that’s why she decided to change vehicles for her third Dakar. The Saudi will indeed be competing in a Taurus T3 prepared by Wevers Sport. A vehicle that requires a brand new skill based on the fact that it has a sequential gear box. It could also be far more competitive. And as a change never comes alone, Akeel will have a new co-driver at her side: Stéphane Duplé. Other than the fact that he is a truck and car instructor in his everyday life, the Frenchman has gained massive experience on the Dakar since his first appearance in 2015. He was last year on the right hand side of young Aliyyah Koloc who was discovering the rally at only 18 years of age.
D.A.: “I love the Dakar. It’s an amazing race. My first experience was incredible. My second one was a challenging one but equally satisfying. I learned a lot. I love the Dakar because it asks you to have solutions all the time and mainly above all to focus. If you are totally focused then you have less problems that you need to solve. On my first Dakar the driving improved over the two weeks and a lot of skills were enhanced. The second Dakar was challenging in the fact that I didn’t finish one stage within the maximum time so I didn’t have a chance to finish in an overall position that I was aiming for. I discovered that I loved driving so much and had a good time every day. I was able to try things that I probably wouldn’t have done if I had my eye on the final day. Every race I’ve done during the seasons helps me grow but the Dakar is the one that really asks you to move beyond a thresh-hold.
I find that the Dakar is much more familiar in Saudi Arabia. It seems like a lot of people know about it more. They recognize the names, the event. They understand more about the rules, the categories. You have my grandmother naming the top 3 finishers at the dinner table and asking me if I’ve met them. And that’s new.
For 2024, I will be driving a Taurus T3 from Wevers Sport and I’ve decided to drive this car as a change to the one I’ve driven with South Racing that was incredible and allowed me to grow a lot. It has a sequential gear box and this is something I really want to develop as a driver. It’s a fun way to drive. It adds this extra element that your mind has to consider, so you’re more stimulated and more focused. It also allows more room for error, but I think it’s important to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. It’s satisfying to do that. Frustrating at one moment and satisfying at the next. I’m very happy in T3 and I think there’s a lot of room for me to grow as a driver, a lot to learn.”
- Marca TAURUS
- Modelo T3MAX
- Preparador Wevers Sport
- Asistencia Wevers Sport
- Clase T3.1: Lightweight Prototype Cross-Country
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