OAA to kick-start season with International Drift

OIDC first round set for Feb 11 and 12 following medical protocols

MUSCAT, JAN 26
The Oman Automobile Association (OAA) will kick-start its much-shortened 2020-21 season with the Oman International Drift Championship (OIDC) on February 11 and 12, the organising committee said on Tuesday.
The fourth Oman International Drift Championship also got postponed by one week over implementing the Supreme Committee regulations on Covid-19 pandemic. The event was originally scheduled for February 4 and 5.
Top international drifters from across the world are expected to take part in the premier event to be organised by the OAA at its Muscat Arena.
The organisers are expecting 45 international drifters for the two-round championship.
The second round is scheduled for February 18 and 19.
The Oman Automobile Association had seen great success with the Oman International Drift Championship after it was launched in 2018.

‘FULLY READY’
Race Director Fahmi al Busaidi of the OAA said the organising committee has worked hard to prepare well for the championship.
“We are fully ready as far as the venue and other logistical arrangement are concerned. But for the implementation of Covid-19 medical protocols, we needed another week.”
He pointed out that the working committees and the medical teams were formed, as well as the large equipment for the medical protocol in force as part of the precautions for Covid-19, according to the regulations set by the Supreme Committee.
Other arrangements include the security equipment for drivers and the race in addition to observers, referees, the imaging system and others, and all the equipment are in place for the start of the event.
Al Busaidi hoped that the fans would be allowed to attend and follow the tournament events.
“There is a move by the organising committee and the OAA with the Supreme Committee to allow a certain number of fans. The tournament will be run by an international team of referees with three European referees specialised in managing such tournaments in addition to one or two young referees,” he added.

DEANE, SEBASTIAN AND NIKNAK IN FRAY
The organising committee said the total number of drifters registered for the event has now reached 35.
The last date of the entry has been moved to January 31 after the change of the event date.
The current list includes defending champion James Deane from Ireland, last year’s runner-up Sebastian Peter Fontijn from Netherlands and 14-year-old sensation Nikolass ‘Niknak’ Bertons of Latvia.

SAMI LEADS OMAN CHALLENGE
Sami al Shaibani, Oman section champion in last edition, will lead the local challenge while star drifters Tariq al Shaihani and Haitham al Hadidi add glamour along with other prominent Omani drifters.
The local drifters have taken part in the training sessions on the championship circuit.
From the Middle East, Kuwaiti competitor Ali Mugasd and the Jordanian Ahmed Daham have confirmed their participation.
Entries were received from 17 countries — the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Latvia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Kuwait, Lebanon, Ukraine, Russia, Qatar, and the hosts Sultanate.
The track of the drift circuit at the OAA’s Muscat Arena was designed by Irish referee Keren Heinz, who is the chief referee of the British and Irish Drift Championships, and is judged by four world referees from the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate.

Anuroop Athiparambath