Top Saudi Arabian rally drivers Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Yasir Seaidan head the international FIA entry announced by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) for this weekend’s third round of the 2021 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.
Subject to pre-event scrutineering, 18 teams and competitors from 13 nations will tackle the three-day event, which roars into life with a timed 10km super special stage on Thursday (March 4th) and continues with two selective sections through the deserts of the Eastern Province on Friday and Saturday.
Fresh from winning the Dubai International Baja, Al-Rajhi and Ulster co-driver Michael Orr will drive one of two Toyota Hilux four-wheel drive vehicles entered by Overdrive Racing. The second car will be in the hands of Dutchman Erik van Loon and his French co-driver Sébastien Delaunay.
Seaidan teams up with Russian navigator Alexey Kuzmich to drive a solitary X-raid-built Mini John Cooper Works Rally, while the fourth of the FIA-seeded drivers at the top of the entry list is the experienced Czech driver Miroslav Zapletal with his self-built Ford F-150.
Saudi drivers dominate the middle reaches of the entry with last year’s Hail International Rally winner Saleh Al-Abdelali wheeling out his powerful Hummer against the likes of Essa Al-Dossary, Khalid Al-Feraihi, Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, Ibrahim Ben Salman, Yousef Al-Suwaidi and Saudi female racer Dania Akeel. She teams up with French co-driver Laurent Lichtleuchter in a Can-Am Maverick X3 entered in the FIA T3 category.
The remainder of the field will fight for honours in the FIA T4 section, with seven Can-Am Mavericks hoping to make the start line.
Heading the list is FIA T4 championship leader Claude Fournier. The Frenchman drives the first of three South Racing Can-Ams alongside Kuwait’s Meshari Al-Thefiri and Dubai-based Thomas Bell. Bell will be co-driven by Spanish former enduro rider and China Grand Rally-winning biker Armand Monleón.
Local driver Saleh Al-Saif will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing outing in Dubai to challenge for T4 honours, where he faces additional competition from fellow Saudi drivers, Ahmed Al-Shegawi, Hamad Al-Harbi and motor sporting all-rounder Saeed Al-Mouri.
The international field will also be joined by competitors taking part in a National Rally and scoring points for the opening round of the 2021 Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship. There is also a separate section for motorcycle and quad entrants.
Support for the event running under the supervision of H.R.H. Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, SAMF President and Chairman of the Organising Committee, comes from official partner Abdul Latif Jameel Toyota and diamond sponsors MBC Group and Al-Arabiya outdoor advertising.
Modon, the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, is also providing logistical support.