Bangor’s experienced WRC co-driver Michael Orr teams up with Mansour Al Helei on Dakar 2021
“Show the world that young talent exists in the region”
Motorsports have been part of Mansour Al Helei’s life for as long as he can remember. Son of a rally driver he started in the navigator’s seat but what he really wanted, was to be the man behind the steering wheel. And the Dakar was always in the back of his mind. Born and raised in Dubai, his driving career was boosted by his encounter with the greatest rallyman of his nation, Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi. Part of his Junior Team, he competed in the Middle-East Rally Championship. And for the Dakar, the 28-year-old will be part of the Abu Dhabi Racing team but in the T3 class for Light Weight prototypes, behind the wheel of a Zephyr built by PH Sport. Alongside experienced WRC co-driver Michael Orr from Bangor (with Al Qassimi and Al Rajhi) who was last year alongside Peter Van Merksteijn in a Toyota Hilux, his goal is to learn of course but mainly show the world that there are young and promising talents from the United Arab Emirates.
MAH.: “Motorsports has been a part of my life from a very young age. I officially began my career in 2010 as a navigator. Being a navigator made me realize that my true passion is behind the steering wheel and in 2011, I officially began my racing career. The Dakar being the largest rally event in the world, I knew I would not hesitate to take this opportunity were it to come up. I have dreamed about participating in this race ever since I began my motorsports career. Now that I am finally able to participate, I want to use this race as a platform not only to represent my country, but also to show the world that young talent does indeed exist in the region. Dakar is undoubtedly the most gruelling, challenging and demanding race out there. At the same time, one can really learn and grow the most from this unrivalled experience. With this in mind, I hope to use this opportunity to really improve as a driver so that I can come back in the future to contest for the championship.
Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi had a vision for young talents from the Emirates and it started a long time ago with the first UAE junior rally team that I was very thankful to be a part of in 2014, racing in the Middle-East rally championship, as well as 3 rounds of rally-raid cross country championship. His vision is to see this sport grow in this country and he is a true motorsport leader in this field and a great person to be around, helping with sharing his knowledge that he gained throughout the years. Without his support I wouldn’t be able to join this amazing Dakar dream.”