With her bright orange pedicure, Michael Kors handbag and skinny jeans, Maysoon Jayyusi hardly looks like a Palestinian speed racer -- until she gets behind the wheel.
The minute she starts up her SUV, she's off -- coursing ahead of the rest of the traffic, weaving among bewildered locals in the crowded streets of the West Bank city of Ramallah.
It's easy to see why the team she heads -- the Middle East's first female speed racing team -- has been dubbed the "Speed Sisters".
The group of six women, Muslims and Christians from their 20s to mid-30s, have battled sceptical parents, the realities of the Israeli occupation and a sometimes disapproving public to become local stars and even the subject of a documentary.
"We feel we are free when we're doing this," teammate Mona Ennab, 26, said. "It's a way to escape everything around us."
Jayyusi, 36, said her love of speed was born out of frustrating hours stuck in long lines at Israeli checkpoints.
"I feel such depression at the checkpoints, but this speed makes me feel like I'm powerful, it helps me expel my depression," she told AFP.
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