Thousands of motorsports fans “landed” at Al Ain’s airport on Friday to witness exceptional drifting skills and exhilarating performances on display during the UAE’s Red Bull Car Park Drift national final. A heated battle between some of the best local driving talents culminated in crowning Jihad Hassan King of Drift making him the first representative for the regional final’s line up which promises to deliver an intense face-off for the win of the MEA title of the “King of Drift”.
Sponsored by Chevrolet and with the support of The Abu Dhabi Department of Municipal Affairs, Al Ain City Municipality, Bridgestone and Total, Friday’s event witnessed a rat race between the contestants, with Jihad Hassan sweeping the lead title after presenting a flawless performance to the judges and in front of a massive audience. Following his crowning, Jihad Hassan said: “The competition was strong and stressful. It’s been one the best races I’ve ever entered!” He goes on to say “This was my third time competing in the “Red Bull Car Park Drift” and after all that practice I made it! Hopefully I will be crowned the Middle East’s king of Drift when I represent the UAE in the regional finals!”
The breathtaking drifting performances in this year’s “Red Bull Car Park Drift”, taking place in the actual airport of Al Ain, captivated the audience with some of the finest car drifters in the UAE showing their finest skills and techniques in an attempt to win the appreciation of the judges in their specially modified cars. Competitors battled to enter turns in the most admirable and accurate ways, using hand breaks and individually developed drift style. The panel of judges including Red Bull Athlete Abdo Feghali, CEO of Prodrift Academy, Graham Mac Namara and Senior Instructor at the Yas Marina Circuit, Sam Zian. The 3 experts evaluated the drifters according to specific standards.
Abdo Feghali who recently broke the Guinness World Record for longest Drift in a Vehicle, also in the UAE, explained the technical guidelines on which the judges relied to make their final decision, saying that “the final score is based on specific criteria; 50 percent allocated to the art of drift 20 points for the clipping point, while the remaining score is equally divided between the engine’s roar and tires’ smoke, and the appearance of the car”. The Red Bull Athlete added: “This season, we are also stressing on a number of factors that might give penalty points to the drivers such as hitting the separators on the track, or getting away from the track or having the car turn around itself”. However, Feghali was undeniably impressed with the drivers’ performance and the high level of the competition, which “clearly reflects the awareness that drifting has gained in the region”. He went on to say “the track was so slippery and surprised the drifters, the top drifters proved to be extremely clever in knowing how to use this to their advantage, which is undoubtedly why they earned the win!”
This is the fourth year for Red Bull Car Park Drift to take place in the United Arab Emirates, after it was launched in Lebanon in 2008.
In addition to the season’s opener in the UAE, the 2013 national qualifiers and finals include Kuwait, KSA, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain and Lebanon.
Jordanian drifter Mohamed Al Kukhun, won the regional championship title last year in Jordan, following exceptional performances and a frenzied fight between some of the best drifters in the region amidst the cheers of thousands of cheering fans.
2013 UAE Red Bull Car Park Drift results:
Lebanese drifter Jihad Hassan - scored 247
Jordanian drifter Samer Khadra – scored 243
Emirati drifter Faisal Al Zaabi – scored 189