By Yousra Elwi
It takes true passion, conviction and courage to pursue your passion; Yazeed Al-Rajhi is an example of a gifted individual who has focused on success. Although most men have a fanatical obsession with cars and speed, this young rally champion has taken it to the next level by honing his distinctive talent and extending his potential and gradually gaining national, regional and global recognition for his rallying championships and sports achievements.
With more than 82,000 ‘Likes’ on his team’s Facebook page, there’s no doubt that this Riyadh-based champion is on the right track. Al-Rajhi hit the professional rally lanes in 2007, after years of practicing as an amateur. He started with Middle East rally championships, making it to first place in 2008 in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Success followed him in 2009, when he won first place in the Syria International Rally, and was amongst the top 3 in the Qatar and Lebanese International Rallies.
After gaining experience from racing on desert and sandy gravel tracks, Al-Rajhi decided to dedicate 2010 and 2011 to broadening his exposure by joining European rallies. He trained in snow and mountainous rallies to sharpen his skills and perfect his performance; his goals were achieved when he made it to the top 5 in the Rallye Terre Cardabelles France gravel 2011 and Espana Rally Championship. With holistic training and world-class expertise in his pocket, Al-Rajhi recently entered the 2012 Super 2000 World Rally Championship which kicks off from Sweden in February and ends in Spain in November. His participation will be the only Arab presence in this global championship; an added incentive for him to place amongst the top positions!
His current vehicle of success is the Ford Fiesta; Al-Rajhi has won numerous championships with it and will compete at the upcoming SWRC in it. In rallying, the relationship between the driver and the car is integral; there must be communication, understanding and responsiveness to have control and balance, and hence a high chance of winning. Yet for the vehicle to deliver peak performance, there must be a qualified trainer providing concrete guidance. Alexander, Al-Rajhi’s French trainer, has been working alongside the national champion to develop his skills and explore new dimensions in this challenging sport.
Determination, confidence and proactivity are strong traits in Al-Rajhi’s personality; these characteristics, combined with his progressive attitude, have claimed the attention of prominent national and international organizations. UNICEF was the first to recognize his support to humanitarian causes, selecting him as the first Saudi Goodwill Ambassador for the Gulf region in 2008. In the same year, he came in third position in the Mobily and Riyadiah ’Most Distinguished Athlete in Saudi Arabia’ competition; but his perseverance got him to first place by 2010. Al-Rajhi’s name also shines as Ambassador for Fighting Drugs in Saudi Arabia, as well as Ambassador for the anti-smoking non-profit organization, Naqa’a.
Pushing the limit is definitely Yazeed Al-Rajhi’s game, be it on the rally tracks or in social contributions. He continues to unleash his hidden potential by stretching his own finish line, and giving up is simply not in his vocabulary. When John Wooden said that “Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character”, he was definitely referring to Yazeed Al-Rajhi.