The story of drifting goes way back to the 1960s on winding Japanese mountain roads. A bunch of likeminded racers set out to beat their A to B times by exceeding the grip limit of their tires when taking sharp corners. It didn't do much to help their racing times but instead evolved into an entirely different discipline. Drifting was born, and by the year 1970 it was featured in the prestigious All Japan Touring Car Championship. Each rider took it further than the last, resulting in some awesome feats redefining driver control. It took 20 years for the international motorsports scene to take on drifting. Countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and China made drifting a fully-fledged sport.Fast-forward to 2005…a Red Bull manager discovered the drifting fever in a car park in Hong Kong and decided to spark some fire in the Middle East.
Lebanon hosted the first ever Red Bull Car Park Drift event in 2008 at the City Mall car park making it possible for all underground drifters to put their skills to test, and placed the spotlight on rally champion Abdo Feghali, making him a drifting legend. The first-ever crowned King of Drift was Michel Feghali.
The Red Bull Car Park Drift event in 2009 showed that the discipline would quickly grow strong. Garo Haroutiounian became the second winner of Red Bull Car Park Drift after an extremely fuelled competition. From then on, drifting grew infectious. 2010 marked the first-ever regional competition series with 15 qualifiers in 10 countries with the final event held at Forum de Beirut dubbing Lebanese national Firas Khaddaj the first regional King of Drift. In 2011 Red Bull Car Park Drift evolved to establish itself as the core developer of drifting in the Middle East and North Africa with 19 qualifiers and 11 participating countries. The number of drift-thirsty fans grew by a five-fold. The Regional Final held at Forum de Beyrouth made KSA national, Said el Mouri, its victor.
Fast forward to the 2016 Regional Finals. Our region’s best drifters went full throttle in Oman. Three Omanis topped the podium. And at only 18 years of age, first time competitor Haitham al Hadidi took home first place after a stellar performance.
Red Bull Car Park Drift is set to grow even greater with this year’s finals. Stay tuned to find out who will be crowned the 2017 King of Drift!
Haitham al Hadidi is an 18-year old Omani drifter who was crowned King of Drift in 2016. In his home crowd, the Omani driver defeated the region’s top drifters flawlessly with his Nissan Silvia.
Ahmad Daham hails from Jordan and is one of the region’s top drifters as he earned the King of Drift title in 2014 and 2015 with a Nissan Silvia.