DUBAI: Saudi driver and two-time world champion Yazeed Al-Rajhi has secured runner-up position in the 2023 World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas after finishing second at the Dubai International Baja, the last race of the season.
Driving for Overdrive alongside colleague Timo Gottschalk, Al-Rajhi finished 5 minutes and 13.9 seconds behind race and championship winners Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel in the Prodrive Hunter.
The event, organized by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, concluded its final rounds in Dubai from Nov. 10-12.
Al-Rajhi displayed impressive resilience to overcome several challenges in 2023, including an injury suffered at the beginning of the year. He missed two crucial rounds of the calendar, Baja Hail and Baja Qatar, and despite having won the World Cup title for the past two years, this season presented new challenges for the Saudi champion.
Al-Rajhi outperformed his Argentine counterpart Juan Cruz Yacopini, who was his closest competitor throughout the season. Only one point separated the two drivers before the start of Baja Dubai.
Al-Rajhi and Gottschalk launched their season at Baja Italy, where they clinched victory, having missed out on points in Hail and Qatar.
Progressing through the European Bajas, before concluding his campaign at the weekend in the deserts of Dubai, Al-Rajhi took part in Baja Aragon in Spain and wrapped up his involvement in the Baja Portalegre 500 in Portugal, securing a podium finish with a second-place result, a milestone in his career.
The round in Poland also posed a scheduling conflict for Al-Rajhi and other participants since it coincided with the Argentina round of the W2RC. The Jordan round, initially planned as the concluding event, was canceled in October.
Al-Rajhi said: “This season presented genuine challenges. Despite not clinching the title, my journey was filled with lessons and growth. The injury didn’t lead to despair, but served as motivation for improvement and excellence. I remained committed to overcoming all these challenges and shining, regardless of the difficulties.
“Missing the Hail and Qatar rounds was disappointing, but my resolute decision to join the remaining races was pivotal,” he said.
“I secured my fourth consecutive victory, and continued to compete fiercely in the remaining rounds, culminating in a remarkable conclusion in the deserts of Dubai.
“I extend my gratitude to my team and navigator, Timo Gottschalk, for their dedication,” Al-Rajhi added.
He also thanked his official partner, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, and his sponsors for consistent support.