Al-Rashed gears up for ERC campaign
Rakan Al-Rashed has chosen the FIA European Rally Championship to test his skills and build his experience of international competition.
The Saudi Arabian driver, 29, has signed for Finnish team Printsport to contest the upcoming Rally Liepāja in a ŠKODA Fabia R5. He will tackle two further events including September’s Cyprus Rally. Hugo Magalhães, a multiple ERC event winner, will co-drive.
“I started driving in 2015 and my focus was on the Middle East Rally Championship at first,” Al-Rashed explained. “The MERC is, of course, challenging but there are not as many events as in Europe to learn and improve so I decided to shift my focus there. I have done events in Lithuania, Estonia and Finland and I’ve also competed on Rally Liepāja. But for this year I am doing a proper programme of ERC rallies and I am very excited.”
Al-Rashed continued: “A lot is happening with motorsport in our country with Formula E and also the Dakar coming next year. One of our aims of doing the ERC will be to show the culture of Saudi Arabia and promote it as a country people should discover.”
In terms of his objectives, Al-Rashed has a clear plan in mind: “Of course I would like to finish in the top 10 but I will also be more humble and push for the top 15 because I know the level of competition in the ERC is very high. I would like to do more ERC events in the future and then, one day, progress to the world championship.”
Al-Rashed underlined his potential with a strong run on January’s Arctic Lapland Rally in Finland. He was ninth in class with one stage remaining only for a delay to drop him down the order.
Rally Liepāja takes place on high-speed gravel stages in Latvia from 24-26 May with a revamped route including stages in the Talsi region for the first time.
Photo: Rakan Al-Rashed/Nauris Brunins