Going round in circles

LalehSeddigh13.jpg _40926981_podium203.jpg

I’m intrigued by the story of the Iranian champion racing driver Laleh Seddigh. Two years ago she became national champion in her class but recently was stopped from competing by stewards who told her that “security problems” meant her participation was now not to be allowed.

According to The Guardian

Most of the federation members were not happy to have a female champion and would have preferred a man,” she said. “Since I won, they have even eliminated the winner’s podium. They were afraid that I would win again and they would be obliged to show me on the podium.

Seddigh says a Muslim cleric has already issued a fatwa – a legally binding religious ruling – stating that there is no religious bar to women racing against men provided Islamic dress code is observed. She plans to use the fatwa if she fails to persuade federation officials to grant her permission to take part in future races.

There have been female competitors in Western racing motor-racing since the 20’s when Helle Nice raced buggattis. During the 1970s I remember seeing Davina Galica race at Brands Hatch and the Italian Lella Lombardi finished sixth in the 1975 Spanish Grand prix. Most western women drivers though have never had the best cars to allow them to be really competitive.

Laleh Seddigh however, is a proven champion who seems to have merely upset some traditionalists such as the Iranian racing federation vice-president, Hossein Shahryari, who says:

Women are speaking highly of themselves and that causes men who sacrifice their lives in this sport disappointment. Women are not champions in this sport, they are only participants. If they observed Islamic regulations more they would not have such problems.

You are allowed to compete with us ladies (just don’t be beating us, ok!)