Destination KSA - Your Guide to Saudi

Destination KSA - Your Guide to Saudi

Maha Al Hamly: From Deserrut Drives to Saudi Rally Racer

Maha Al Hamly: From Deserrut Drives to Saudi Rally Racer

In the heart of Saudi Arabia, a young woman named Maha Al Hamly embarked on an unexpected journey into the thrilling world of rally racing. Her story is a testament to determination, courage, and the pursuit of passions, and it all began with a simple decision to embrace change.


Growing up in Saudi Arabia, Maha never imagined herself as a racer. She learned to drive in a country where the roads were unfamiliar, and apprehension loomed around every corner. But with each challenge she faced, Maha’s driving skills improved, and she discovered a newfound love for the adrenaline rush that comes with speed and excitement.

In a world impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, travel was restricted, and Saudi Arabia’s vast desert landscapes became a haven for adventure. Maha and her friends seized the opportunity to explore the beauty of their homeland, venturing into the deserts, and this further fueled her passion for driving.

Then came a turning point in Maha’s life: Rally Jameel, the first women’s rally in 2020. She decided to give it a try, eager to test her driving skills and her ability to maintain focus over extended periods. Rallying wasn’t just about speed; it demanded endurance, patience, and unwavering concentration.

As she joined Rally Jameel, Maha found herself amidst international rally drivers, initially nervous but ultimately gaining confidence. To everyone’s surprise, she clinched the third position, becoming the first Saudi woman in the top 10 and the first with no prior experience. It was at that moment that she realized her newfound passion and decided to make racing her future.

Maha Al Hamly: From Deserrut Drives to Saudi Rally Racer

Maha’s journey into rally racing didn’t stop there. She sought training outside of Saudi Arabia, acquiring valuable skills and certificates. In the Saudi National Championship, she secured second place, proving that her success in Rally Jameel was no fluke.

At the start of 2023, Maha entered both the Saudi and Middle East championships, where she achieved remarkable success—first place in the Saudi Championship and second place in the Middle East Championship. She now looks forward to completing the remaining rallies in Qassim, Jeddah, Jordan, and Dubai, with her sights set on her biggest dream: participating in the Dakar Rally next year.

Maha’s journey represents a series of small but significant steps toward success and self-improvement. She’s learned from her mistakes and embraced the challenges, growing stronger and more determined with each passing day. 

But was Maha always interested in motorsports? Surprisingly, no. She had a fondness for cars but never envisioned herself as a driver. When the Saudi government granted women the right to drive, Maha seized the opportunity, leaving her banking career to work in the automotive industry, an area she had always been passionate about.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has witnessed an exponential growth in motorsports, thanks in part to events like Rally Jameel. Vision 2030, a transformative initiative, has emphasized sports as a key component of national development. With Formula 1 races now taking place in Saudi Arabia and opportunities opening up for young racers, the country’s sports industry has experienced a remarkable shift.

Maha Al Hamly: From Deserrut Drives to Saudi Rally Racer

However, rally racing is a unique and demanding motorsport, unlike any other. It tests a driver’s endurance and patience as they navigate the scorching desert terrain. Every part of Saudi Arabia offers a distinct challenge, and Maha’s journey has not only been about racing but also about discovering the beauty of her homeland’s deserts.

Rally racing has earned a reputation as one of the toughest motorsports globally, with extreme speed maintained for extended periods under grueling conditions. Dehydration and fatigue are constant companions for drivers like Maha, making this sport a true test of physical and mental strength.

In contrast to Formula 1 and other racing categories, rally drivers are responsible for every aspect of their vehicles. There are no pit crews to provide assistance in changing tires or fixing mechanical issues. In the unforgiving desert, the driver’s skills, strength, and resilience are put to the ultimate test.

Maha’s story is one of transformation, from a young woman navigating unfamiliar roads to a successful rally racer and fashion enthusiast. Her advice to aspiring racers is simple: don’t be afraid to start early, seize the opportunity, and embrace the journey with courage.

In Maha Al Hamly, Saudi Arabia has found a trailblazing rally racer who embodies the spirit of determination, resilience, and passion. As she continues to make her mark in the world of motorsports, her story serves as an inspiration to all young racers with dreams of conquering the desert and achieving greatness. 

 

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