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First Saudi Woman to Race Car in Kingdom

Sliding behind the wheel of a sleek electric SUV, Reema Juffali is blazing a trail in male-dominated motor sports as the first Saudi woman to race in the kingdom.

Reema Juffali, 27-year-old will be competing in the Jaquar I-PACE e TROPHY, an electric race in Dirriyah.

Such adrenalin rushes were unimaginable for women in the ultra-conservative kingdom until June last year, when it overturned the world’s only ban on female motorists as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s wide-ranging liberalisation drive.

Sliding behind the wheel of a sleek electric SUV, Juffali made her motoring debut just months after the decades-old ban ended.

“The ban was lifted last year and I never expected to race professionally,” said Juffali, sitting in her black-and-green Jaguar I-Pace, an electric sports utility vehicle.

Juffali, who hails from the western city of Jeddah and was educated in the United States, is participating as what organisers call a “VIP” guest driver, becoming the first Saudi woman to race on home soil.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s sports authority chief, has touted it as a “watershed” moment for the kingdom.

“Reema will have thousands cheering her on, as a professional racing driver,” the prince said.

Juffali, who made one of her first appearances in competitive racing at the F4 British Championship at Brands Hatch in April, has only about a year of professional racing experience under her belt.

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