MUSCAT: Rafaat al Yahyai drifted his way to the title as Oman’s 2017 King of Drift at the Oman Automobile Association (OAA) track. This year’s Omani title-holder, Rafaat al Yahyai, achieved 380 points enough to convince the four judges that he could be crowned the king of drift for this years’ edition of Oman’s Red Bull Car Park Drift. Drifting fans from all over the Sultanate witnessed the event unfold over the course of 28 relentless runs of unfiltered drifting epicness.
Al Yahyai will represent the Sultanate in the regional finals at SIRBB Circuit in Kuwait on December 8.
Over 2,500 spectators are expected for the final.
With only one drifter from each participating country, the Red Bull Car Park Drift contest rules allows three drifters from the hosting country; this year, Kuwait.
The three drifters from Kuwait participated in the local qualifier and topped the leaderboard; the winner, Ali Makhseed, first runner-up, Fahad Aljadei, and the third place winner, Abdullah Aljadi.
Red Bull Car Park Drift final is organised with the cooperation of Basel Salem Al Sabah Motor Racing Club, the Public Authority for Sport, and SIRBB Circuit and is sponsored by Total, Falken, Shop & Ship, PS4, Nissan, Boubyan Bank, Drag 965, Acqua Eva and Trolley. Media partners, MBC Action, Kuwait Times and Aljarida will cover this popular event.
Kuwait’s three drifters will face a fierce challenge for the sought-after King of Drift title, competing against drifters from ten other countries that have participated in the series. The 2017 series kicked off in Kuwait on May 5 and the competition has continued since then with qualifiers in Egypt, Lebanon, Mauritius, Bahrain, Tunisia, Jordan, Oman and Morocco. Qualifiers will continue this month in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, before all winners go head to head on December 8.
The competition, first hosted by Red Bull in Lebanon, is back providing drifting amateurs and professionals with the opportunity to highlight their skills and compete for the crown, while capturing the crowd’s attention. Last year’s final in Oman witnessed an exciting turnout, with all three Omani drifters, topping the winners’ podium. First time competitor, Haitham al Hadidi, claimed the crown at the young age of 18, due to a stellar performance.
Lebanon hosted the first ever Red Bull Car Park Drift event in 2008 making it possible for all underground drifters to put their skills to the test, and placed the spotlight on rally champion Abdo Feghali, making him a drifting legend.
On a global level, the story of drifting goes back to the 1960s on winding Japanese mountain roads. A bunch of like-minded racers set out to beat their A to B times by exceeding the grip limit of their tires when taking sharp corners.
It did not do much to help their racing times but instead evolved into an entirely different discipline.
Drifting was born, and a Red Bull manager discovered the sport in 2005 and decided to spark a fire in the Middle East, a fire that still burns to this very day.