Yazeed Al Rajhi is a leading Saudi Arabian rally driver who has been competing in the World Rally Championship and other international rally events since 2007. Al Rajhi also participated in the cross-country rallies and debuted at Dakar Rally in 2015. Ever since he started racing he was driving for his own team, previously known as Al-Rajhi Racing Team and later renamed to Yazeed Racing.
Yazeed Al Rajhi
Racing debut with Mitsubishi and immediate switch to Subaru
Yazeed Mohamed Al Rajhi was born on May 5th, 1981. He debuted in rallying at Rally Jordan in May 2007, but the engine failure prevented him from proper racing. It remained his only race with Mitsubishi because he switched to Subaru Impreza STI N12 for the rest of the season. He entered the Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), competing with co-driver Steve Lancaster at Cyprus Rally and Dubai International Rally.
World rally debut at 2008 Rally Argentina
In 2008, Al Rajhi expanded his programme to the full season in the MERC but also participated in two events of the World Rally Championship (Argentina and Jordan). He retired in both WRC races while in the MERC competition he failed to finish five out of seven rallies. The highlight of the season was his first career victory at the non-championship Sharqia Rally, alongside his new co-driver Matthieu Baumel.
First season with Peugeot in 2009
In 2009, Yazeed replaced Subaru with Peugeot 207 S2000 and competed in seven races of the Middle East Rally Championship. With one victory at Syrian Rally and two more podiums, he finished third in the championship standings.
Yazeed at 2010 Jordan Rally
Two wins in the 2010 MERC
Next year Al Rajhi continued to race in the MERC with Peugeot, winning the Sharqia Rally and Jordan Rally and he finished sixth in the championship. Also, the 2010 Jordan Rally counted for the World Rally Championship, so he recorded the 13th place in the WRC classification. Yazeed also participated in the Rally d'Italia Sardegna, which was a part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, but he retired after an accident.
Four co-drivers in one season
In 2011, Yazeed's car was again Peugeot 207 S2000 but he had four different co-drivers: Matthieu Baumel, Bjorn Degandt, Michael Orr and Dale Moscatt. He competed in six WRC events with Peugeot and finished just once, in France. In the last race of the season, at Wales Rally GB, Yazeed debuted in Ford Fiesta S2000 but then he retired again.
Al Rajhi at 2011 Rally Catalunya
Yazeed's best season with 3rd place in the SWRC category
Al Rajhi had much better results in the 2012 season. He entered the SWRC competition with Ford Fiesta RRC, partnered by Michael Orr at the codriver's seat.
In seven SWRC events, he took four podiums and finished 3rd in the championship order, behind PG Andersson and Craig Breen. Yazeed also scored his first points in the WRC classification, finishing eight overall at Acropolis Rally.
Al Rajhi at 2012 Wales Rally GB
First WRC victory at 2013 Rally Sweden
One more season with Fiesta RRC followed in 2013, combining the WRC and MERC events. At the Rally Sweden Yazeed scored his 1st WRC victory, winning the WRC2 class competition. He added two more podiums and finished fifth in the final WRC2 standings. He also finished fifth in the MERC after he took part in four events.
Cyprus Rally win was the highlight of the 2014 season
In 2014, the crew Al Rajhi – Orr continued to race with Fiesta RRC, again combining the WRC and MERC rallies. After five WRC events, Yazeed was 11th in the WRC2 classification. In the 2014 Middle East Rally Championship, he took the sixth place. The highlight of the season was Yazeed's one-off appearance in the European Rally Championship and victory at 2014 Cyprus Rally.
Yazeed debuted at Dakar Rally in 2015
Impressive debut with Hilux and unfortunate retirement at Dakar Rally
The season of 2015 started with Yazeed's first participation at Dakar Rally. The Saudi driver was the biggest surprise of the event. Al Rajhi finished seven times in the Top 5, including the best time on stage 8. Unfortunately, his Toyota Hilux stopped on stage 11 and he retired from the event while he was in third place. His co-driver was a veteran Timo Gottschalk.
Besides Dakar Rally, Al Rajhi had other impressive runs at some cross-country rallies in 2015, with the 3rd place in Morocco and the 2nd place in Egypt.
During 2015, Al Rajhi participated in nine WRC and MERC events, finishing just three times. He again performed good at Swedish snow, finishing 4th in WRC2 classification. His season-best result was the 3rd place at Kuwait International Rally.
Yazzed finished 11th at 2016 Dakar Rally, driving Hiluf of Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa
11th place in the second Dakar Rally attempt
In January 2016, Yazeed visited South America one more time because he wanted to improve his result from the previous Dakar Rally. He competed with Toyota Hilux entered by Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa, again sharing the cockpit with Timo Gottschalk. They finished 11th overall. Later in the season, Yazeed scored two-second places at Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and Qatar Sealine Cross-Country Rally.
Yazeed moved up to the WRC car in 2016
In the World Rally Championship, Yazeed was driving WRC car for the first time. He tested the car at Arctic Lapland Rally in Finland and after that, he entered the Rally Sweden. He retired in both races, in Finland because of a gearbox failure and in Sweden after an accident.
In 2016, Al Rajhi switched from RRC to WRC version of Ford Fiesta
Joining X-Raid Team for 2017 Dakar Rally
For the 2017 Dakar Rally, Al Rajhi joined German X-Raid Team to drive new Mini John Cooper Works Rally. He was very good at the beginning, lying in the 7th place overall after three stages but then he dropped to 36th. Until the end of the event, he progressed to the 27th place.
Next year, at 2018 Dakar Rally, he raced in a brand new Mini John Cooper Works Buggy. He didn't finish the race, spectacularly soaking his car in an ocean.