In front of 4,000 spectators, Rafaat Al Yahyai from Oman managed to clinch the 2017 Red Bull Car Park Drift Series Final title in a spectacular manner. Second place went to Othman Al Takriti from Jordan, followed by Ahmad Hamada from Egypt who rounded the podium.
The day started with motorsport spectators lining up at Sirbb Circuit to witness the high adrenaline spectacle and find out who will claim the coveted 2017 King of Drift title.
The final was held under the patronage of Sheikh Ali Fawaz AlSabah, organized by Basel Salem AlSabah Motor Racing Club, in cooperation with SIRBB Circuit and partners Total, Falken, Shop & Ship, PS4, Nissan, Boubyan Bank, Drag 965, Acqua Eva and Trolley. Media partners, MBC Action, Kuwait Times and Aljarida covered this popular event.
The drifters then began the first heat consisting of 15 drifters on a challenging track concocted by Abdo Feghali, Guinness World Book Record holder for the longest drift. Round 1 featured 15 drifters from Kuwait, Egypt, Lebanon, Mauritius, Bahrain, Tunisia, Jordan, Oman, Morocco, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, and Palestine. With only one drifter from each participating country, the Red Bull Car Park Drift 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, 1st runner up, Fahad Aljadei, and the third place winner, Abdullah Aljadi.
Consisting of top motorsport and drifting experts and athletes, the judging panel were assigned the task of evaluating the competitors. Brothers Elias and Johannes Hountdonji, together forming “Team Driftbrothers”, are both expert drifters from Germany with a history of full-on drifting careers. Aleksandr Grinchuk, Ukrainian native, has participated in every competition in the city of Odessa, Ukraine, since kickstarting his drifting career in 2007. International and National racer and Kuwait’s first certified FIA racing driver, Khaled Al Mudhaf, rounded up the highly qualified judging panel.
Aiming to elevate the competition year after year, Abdo Feghali, had modified the criteria to challenge the drifters. This year their performance was determined based on car look & design (10%), tire smoke (10%), car sound (7%), section 1 drifting (15%), section 2 drifting (15%), boxes (15%), gates (15%), and pendulum (13%).
The top 8 who broke through to round 2 were Raafat Al Yahyai, Othman Al Takriti, Ahmad Hamada, Sary Zahalan, Mohammed Al Mansouri, Shahab Pishanidar, Ali Makhseed, and Nassim Saad. This time, only four would make it to the next round. While awaiting the action to resume, spectators were treated to a show by Julien Welsch, pro stunt rider since 2009, who displayed his unique talents to the roaring crowd.
The final four from round 2, Rafaat Al Yahyai, Othman Al Takriti, Ahmad Hamada, and Sary Zahalan all went head to head, with one aim; to be crowned the 2017 King of Drift. Local Kuwaiti competitor, Ali Maskheed impressed the judges with his tire smoke and was awarded the King of Smoke title by Falken Tires.
Ultimately, Omani national, Rafaat Al Yahyai, edged past the competition and clinched the title with a jaw-dropping performance collecting an impressive 378 points, ensuring that the crown remains in Oman, after his compatriot Haitham Al Hadidi had won it last year. He was beaming with pride as he held the trophy and explained what it meant to him: “I am incredibly happy to be crowned the 2017 King of Drift and delighted that the crown will remain in Oman for another year.”