Hakam Rabie puts the Egyptian flag and his name on the FIA Cross Country World Cup for the 2016 season. The champion talks to Al-Ahram Weekly
For the second time in his career as a co-pilot, Hakam Rabie, despite all the challenges, has managed to make a name for himself as one of the rising champions in the Middle East. Things don’t come easy and Rabie is a case in point. He had to run after his chances and grab them firmly trying to get the most out of them.
Rabie, 27, got his first taste of rally racing at a young age when he was sitting watching the 2000 Pharaons Rally on TV. “Once I saw the Egyptian champions Azzam Al-Farouki, Amr Shanan and Adham Mustafa I was connected right away,” said Rabie. “Mustafa was participating in a Jeep Cherokee branded with a big telecom company. He caught my attention. He was the youngest among all the drivers and had a big sponsor and a confident attitude.
I said to myself I want to join this guy’s team when I grow up”.
Fast forward to 2008 and Rabie found out there would be a rally school in The Automobile and Touring Club of Egypt. So he registered right away to start his professional co-piloting career.
In 2013, Rabie’s childhood dream came true when he joined Mustafa as a co-pilot and started business. Mustafa and Rabie won their first local championship in 2013 -- the Farouki Challenge. “Mustafa always demanded perfection; we both shared this trait,” said Rabie.
The chemistry was already working between Rabie and Mustafa, taking them to the world stages. In 2014 Mustafa managed to secure sponsors to participate in one of the toughest rallies on the FIA calendar, the Pharaons Rally. Rabie didn’t see it coming. He was introduced to the biggest challenge of his career. The team participated in the T2 category with an Isuzu D-Max against the tough challenger and the 2013 T3 world champion Yasser Seaidan. After a dramatic rally which lasted 10 hours, Mustafa and Rabie managed to win the rally, the first Egyptians ever to win the T2 category in the Pharaons Rally. By the end of the season, Rabie finished third in the co-pilot’s world champion.
This year Rabie is proving it wasn’t coincidence or the driver. He made the difference. Rabie joined QX Rally, a team from the UAE, as a co-pilot to get the chance to race with the team’s pilot, the Qatari Adel Abdullah in the 2016 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Rabie helped the team win the T2 category, which gave him 50 points to lead the world co-pilot champion for some time in 2016. Unfortunately, Rabie did not get other opportunities to race in the World Cup Rally series to add to his points since no teams participated from Egypt.
Rabie says all his focus and effort now “is to participate more in the 2017 season and gain points to win the co-pilot world champion in the Cross Country Rally World Cup”.