Rally Jameel: Saudi Arabia’s First Navigational Rally for Women

Registration has officially begun for Saudi Arabia’s first navigational rally for women. The event is scheduled for March 17 to 19, 2022, and will span 900 kilometers through the northwestern part of the country. Starting in the city of Ha’il and passing through the Qassim province, the rally will finish in the booming metropolis of Riyadh.

Acceptable vehicles include all-wheel-drive or 4×4 (unmodified), and each team will consist of a female driver and assistant. A training program for all participants is planned, and the competition will be limited to 20 drivers nominated by the organizing committee.

According to Arab News, the rally is “in line with the aims of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 development and diversification program relating to the empowerment of women.” Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, also chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Foundation, remarked that through such initiatives, “we would like to inspire our locals and bring them these types of events. We would like to see more women racing in Saudi Arabia.”

Prior to 2018, this event would have been impossible, as a longstanding ban prohibited Saudi women from driving. Pioneers such as Saudi driver and 2022 Dakar competitor Dania Akeel also want to bring more women to motorsports. “I think [Rally Jameel] is an exciting event, and it is a great race for women to prove themselves,” she told Arab News.

The international event is open to women from around the globe. For more on Rally Jameel, including registration details, visit rallyjameel.com.

Ashley Giordano completed a 48,800-kilometer overland journey from Canada to Argentina with her husband, Richard, in their well-loved but antiquated Toyota pickup. On the zig-zag route south, she hiked craggy peaks in the Andes, discovered diverse cultures in 15 different countries, and filled her tummy with spicy ceviche, Baja fish tacos, and Argentinian Malbec. You can usually find Ashley buried in a pile of travel books, poring over maps, or researching wild medicinal plants. Ashley is a co-founder of Women Overlanding the World and crew member of Expedition Overland. You’ll find this Canadian-born couple exploring a different continent in 2021, and sharing their trip every step of the way at Desk to Glory.