Mashael Al-Obaidan was originally set for her third Dakar Rally in 2024, but will ultimately skip the event.
She was originally scheduled to race the #335 Can-Am Maverick X3 in the Challenger (formerly T3) class under her Team Mashael banner. Rémi Boulanger was tabbed as her co-driver, but her bowing out prompted Boulanger to instead commit to the Africa Eco Race taking place concurrently with the Dakar.
“Unfortunately, sitting out of @dakarrally this year! One less competitive driver but I’m excited to witness the adrenaline fueled performances of my fellow rally drivers,” wrote Al-Obaidan. “Rest assured, I’m gearing up to make a fiery return soon! Wishing everyone the best on this thrilling journey!”
Al-Obaidan was the first Saudi woman to receive a rally licence, which eventually led to her Dakar début in 2022 two years after the event moved to her home country. She finished seventeenth in the T4 (now SSV) category as one of two female Saudi drivers alongside Dania Akeel. For 2023, she moved up to T3 with South Racing Can-Am and placed twenty-fourth.
Although Al-Obaidan will not be able to represent Saudi Arabia, nine other competitors will pick up the pace including Akeel and Maha Al-Hamali, the latter set to be the third Saudi woman to take part.
The Dakar Rally begins Friday.