Annie Seel and her co-driver Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky stayed ahead of the chasing pack on Day Three of Rally Jameel to take the overall win in their Toyota RAV4 by more than nine points. The Swedish pair took the least penalties of all the 34 teams to bring home the win, ahead of UAE driver Atefa Saleh and her American co-driver Eleanor Coker in their Toyota Prado. Saudi national Maha Al Hamly flew the flag for the Kingdom, finishing third with her co-driver Pochola Hernández, also in a Toyota Prado.
“All of the women on the rally are heroes,” said Seel after the race. “You think it’s only a navigational rally, but to do this precision driving in the dunes we faced today was very challenging, especially in the broken dunes. I am so proud to be racing with all of them, the Saudi Arabian racers, the women from the Rebelle Rally and the total novices that really rose to the challenge and proved themselves.”
Saudi Arabian driver Maha Al Hamly was delighted with her third-place finish. Al Hamly and Hernàndez usually race separately with different partners in Spain but decided to come together just for Rally Jameel.
“I wished that I was in the passenger seat because every second I had to have my entire focus on the road and with my co-driver,” said Al Hamly. “We passed through some of the breathtaking historical sights of my home country, so it was honestly such a fantastic experience.
“When I first entered our first briefing, I thought it would be filled with professional race drivers, but to my surprise, it was open to drivers who just have a passion for motorsport. I genuinely want to thank Abdul Latif Jameel Motors and Bakhashab Motorsport and all their sponsors.”
The final day of the navigational rally, which is not designed as a speed test, began at Khartam park, the location of the overnight bivouac. It then passed by Rawdat Al Hisu, close to the Ruwaydat ash Sha’ Basin, via hidden checkpoints and challenges, before finishing at the Rally HQ at Shaqra, the location of the newly opened Shaqra University.
The drivers then had a long trip of over 300 kilometers to the ceremonial finish and gala dinner for the competitors and organizers at the stunning Fairmont Hotel in Riyadh.
The eventual overall winner, from the 34 teams from around the world that started the rally, was decided by the team that builds up the most points by the end of the rally, by arriving at the correct times to the various checkpoints and daily finish.
Hassan Jameel, Deputy President and Vice Chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel, said: “Rally Jameel has been a resounding success. We have seen outstanding teamwork over the past three days, and I would like to personally congratulate our rally winners and everyone who has been involved in this groundbreaking event. We believe Rally Jameel will play a major role in driving women’s participation in global motorsports, and we are committed to building on this success.”
The rally is an initiative by Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, organised by Bakhashab Motorsports, and sanctioned by the Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation (SAMF).
Final Race Results (after 1105.31 km):
|1.||Car 21||Annie Seel||Sweden||Toyota RAV4||2166.590|
|2.||Car 13||Atefa Saleh||UAE||Toyota Prado||2157.263|
|3.||Car 9||Maha Al Hamly||Saudi Arabia||Toyota Prado||2155.246|
|4.||Car 29||Ewelina Chlebowska||Poland||Toyota FJ Cruiser||2153.957|
|5.||Car 25||Lyn Woodward||USA||Toyota Fortuner||2151.947|