Participating in Drift UAE
Jan 2013 10

After winning RedBull Car Park Drift (CPD)  in Kuwait, Muath Al-Essa my ex-teammate from Saudi Arabia (now racing for Aljazeera Ford Racing) was talking about the next participation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). I had absolutely no idea about what UAE has been hosting, all I heard was SSK drift which has been hosting events since 2010. Muath was telling me that there has been a series that’s expanding like no other and Darren McNamara, a Formula D driver is the guest star to give participants drifting points on judging, drifting lines and other points about the course layout. SSK drift was the event I heard of and at the time it was in transition to become Drift UAE, and the next round that we were planning to join was going to be a Drift UAE event.

Started making phone calls with sponsors in Kuwait to cover our costs, and thankfully we received support from Auto-1 which is a Kuwaiti based business and has a branch in Dubai, the same company based in Kuwait were title sponsors for RedBull CPD Kuwait. Muath shipped his BMW M3 from Al-Khobbar, Saudi Arabia since that’s where he’s from and I shipped my car from Kuwait to meet with Muath over the weekend at Yas Marina Island, Abu Dhabi. Salah Salahuddin (from SMS Perfomance) my ex-teammate from Bahrain also wanted to join but his car unfortunately wasn’t ready, we all decided that he was going to share with Muath his M3 because we had an extra set of wheels and tires for it.

Muath and I reached Yas Marina the night prior the event. We woke up in the morning to wash our cars, brand them with the Auto-1 stickers and change the tires. Apparently we struggled to find a place to change the tires on the M3 because there was no tire store in Yas Marina Island and we went out on the highway to find the first gas station with a small quick service shop. Luckily we had time to change the spare wheels with new tires but went along with the half-tread of the tires on the M3 for the qualifying runs and assuming we’ll have time to change the wheels with the spare wheels during the event.

Participation

It was Friday the 24th of February 2012, our second participation. We were amazed by the drifters we met, friendly and very supportive in many ways yet very professional with the car setup they have done to make them competitive rivals against others. Most drifters were individual participants, only a few teams from Saudi and UAE were fully set up teams that have been around since 2010. It was a great opportunity for us to compete against rivals such as Ahmed Al-Ameri from Toyota Emirates Drifting Team and Abdulhadi Al-Qahtani from Aljazeera Ford Racing.

We were about 25 participants and there were 3 qualifying runs, top 16, top 8, top 4 and then the top 4 would compete for podium. Muath went out for the first run which was quite thrilling because drift initiation speed was about 130km/h but he did very well. After him it was me and during my run something happened to my engine causing the car to lose about 50% of its power and then Salah went out for his run. All of us were sitting waiting for the results for the first qualifying run, Muath and I were qualified but Salah didn’t make it.

Muath barely had any tire tread left after the first qualifying run, we were looking for help to lift the car and replace the wheels with the spare wheels that has new tires. With little time on hands, we didn’t have time to change it and it was Muath’s run. We dropped the car off the lift and he went for his run making him finish the course carefully by going sideways only. Then it was my run, and I had to struggle with the lack of power from the engine, and I barely finished the whole course going sideways. After waiting for the results, Muath was qualified for top 8! Cheering him and trying to change the wheels with the spare wheels for new tires, yet again we didn’t have time to change them, so he continued with the worn out tires. Unfortunately Muath didn’t make it for the last qualifying run, but it was a great experience.

 

Mubarak Al-Rumaidhi

 

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