Chennai: In motor racing age 26 may be considered “old” by today’s standards, but, for Reema Al Juffali, it has been about breaking barriers and going where no Saudi Arabian woman has been as in October last year, she became the first female from the kingdom to race competitively. She took another major step in pursuit of her dreams and passion by competing in the final round of the MRF Challenge which concluded at the MMRT, here on Sunday.
Hailing from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Reema studied and worked abroad before moving back home once the motor racing bug firmly implanted itself in her. It took her four years before taking the big decision to pursue racing.
Reema said: “It’s been so funny as a story. I started racing quite late in life and the dream came later to me, to pursue racing after I studied and worked at a few things. My passion has always been cars and the racing came along. And after that, it was like I can’t avoid it (racing) anymore and I wanted to pursue it. So, when I moved back home, I had the time and opportunity to pursue racing. In October (2018), I had my first race in a GT 86 car in Abu Dhabi. I was happy with my performance as I finished in the middle of the grid. And then I won my first race in December. So, it’s been very quick, very fast with everything that has been happening. It’s been fantastic.
“Women started driving in Saudi in June last year and my first race was in October. So, it’s like okay, this is not just a big step for Saudi women, but we can also have this. I guess, I was in the right place and right time.” When asked about choosing to race in India, Reema said: “The series was in Dubai. At that time, I was thinking of such groups. I spoke to a few people, I had quite a few options of joining a few series in winter. But everyone recommended Chennai and this track (MMRT), because it’s quite technical and the cars, something much more powerful than I had driven before. So, it would give me a good base.”...