Saudi racer Reema Juffali has revealed her delight after recording her best-ever position at the British F3 Championship, with the Jeddah-born driver finishing fourth in Race Three at Silverstone.
Starting at the front of the grid, the 29-year-old Douglas Motorsport driver put on a strong display in a race that saw her drop to third in the early stages before being demoted to fourth. Despite the race being temporarily halted due to a safety car, Juffali kept her focus at the restart, maintaining her position until the finish line.
“I was super happy,” said Juffali. “At the beginning of the race, when I lost the lead, I said to myself it wasn’t the end. As soon as anything positive happened, I was using that to pull the momentum forward and follow the racers in front of me, which kept me competitive and kept me on my toes.
“It was really good finishing the race knowing I was securing fourth, and that the drivers behind couldn’t catch me. Crossing the finish line, I had some tears in my eyes and I was welling up, but I was super excited.”
It was Juffali’s best result in her rookie season.
“The whole team has been such a great support and we have been a family since the beginning of testing,” she said, adding: “When we had some difficult moments we were there together, and we shared the good moments too.”
The fourth-place finish was made all the more impressive given that Juffali had been penalised during the qualifying round for not adhering to the track limit rules at Silverstone, which are different to other circuits in the championship. But she said the incident helped spur her on.
“Even though my laps were quite competitive, they were disallowed, so essentially it was just my warm-up laps that counted,” she said. “That didn’t knock my confidence, it just meant I needed to push forward in the races.
“I think this event really showed that I could turn a bad day into a good one and take everything that I’ve been learning, put it together on the track and perform in a way that I know I can,” added Juffali. “It really came together progressively and in the right way. I hope to do that in the next race and the one after. I knew what I needed to do, and I worked on it at my own pace. It was proven on track that it was the right thing to do.”
The Saudi racer will be behind the wheel again in the next stage of the British F3 Championship on July 10 and 11. She insists her performance at Silverstone will give her a lot of confidence going into the event at Donington Park.
“It’s everything,” said Juffali. “You put all this time in over the last couple of years, pushing and trying to get more out of yourself and these moments are what edge you on and give you what you need to find that consistency and speed. I know it’s there, I just need to be able to pull it all together.
“I am ready to go tomorrow, and I’m excited I have that confidence boost I needed,” she added. “It’s now just about doing it again and getting closer — whether that is breaking into the top 10, qualifying in the top 10 and then eventually getting a podium in a reverse grid, which is also a possibility. But it’s all getting a bit closer and a bit more attainable.”
Juffali was competing at Silverstone for the first time in her career and admitted driving on the iconic track was a great learning experience in terms of her development.
“It was better than I expected,” she said. “It was tough at times but the track is demanding and physical. There are a lot of areas where you can overtake and it really puts your driving into perspective. It’s so dynamic, with high-speed stuff and low-speed stuff. It taught me a lot and to do this where I watched my first Formula 1 race, at such a historic and popular track, says it all. It was perfect timing.”