Imagine drifting, floating aimlessly downriver, tranquil and thoughtful, peaceful indeed…stick Red Bull in there, throw in a car park, and what do you have but one of the most exhilaratingly thrilling sports to hit the Middle East. The roar of engines, the squeal of tires, the billowing smoke, these drifters push their cars to the limit, testing their own control over these motorized monsters, burning up a V8 engine with horse power in the high hundreds, and throwing thousands of pounds in weight around the track.
It’s been exactly ten years since the first Red Bull Car Park Drift in Lebanon and only a few months ago that Kuwait hosted an adrenaline-filled Series Final for the very first time. The popular motorsport has an ever-expanding audience and this time over 2500 spectators came to watch 26 drifters over 3 heats challenge defending champion Ali Makhseed for the coveted 2018 Kuwait King of Drift title. The Red Bull Car Park Drift was organized by Basel Salem AlSabah Motor Racing Club and sponsored by Total, Falken Tyres, Drag 965, Acqua Eva, and Talabat. Media partner Kuwait Times, also covered this popular event.
The first heat decimated 26 drifters down to only the top 8 on a challenging track concocted by Abdo Feghali, previous Guinness World Book Record holder for the longest drift. Which four of Ali Makhseed, Fahad AlJedei, Mesyar Abu Shaibah, Hamad Al Hajri, Abdulhadi Hjailan, Louay Abou Ayash, Mohammad Al Azmi, and Mohammad Al Otaibi would make it to the final?
Spectators and drifters anxiously awaited the final round and action to resume, to ultimately crown the winner. The final four from round three, Ali Makhseed, Fahad AlJedei, Mesyar Abu Shaibah, and Hamad Al Hajri all went head to head, with one aim; to be crowned the 2018 Kuwait King of Drift.
Consisting of top motorsport and drifting experts and athletes, the judging panel was assigned the task of evaluating the competitors. This year’s judging panel table was rounded up by experienced motorsports organizer Fouad Abu Arja , rally veterans Jean Pierre Nasrallah and Issam Najadi, and lastly but not least Khaled Al Mudhaf, local racer and Kuwait’s first certified FIA racing driver.
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 (40 points), drifting skills (120 points), boxes (50 points), spiral (20 points), gate (20 points), flipper (60 points), pendulum (50 points), car sound (20 points), and tire smoke (20 points).
Ultimately, Ali Makhseed edged past the competition and clinched the title with a jaw-dropping performance collecting an impressive 386 points. He was beaming with pride as he held the trophy and excitedly explained what it meant to him: “I am ecstatic to represent Kuwait at the 2018 Series Final, for the second year running, and aim to keep Kuwait’s head held high”.
Second place went to Fahad AlJedei, followed by Mesyar Abu Shaibah who rounded up the podium.
Ali Makhseed will face a fierce challenge for the King of Drift title, competing against drifters from ten other countries that have participated in the series. The 2018 series kicked off in Oman on January 26 and the competition has continued since then with qualifiers in UAE, Egypt and Qatar.
Qualifiers will continue in Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Mauritius, and Lebanon. With only one drifter from each participating country, Lebanon will welcome the 2018 Kuwait King of Drift at the Series Final this September 22 where he will compete to claim the Series Final thrown.
The competition provides drifting amateurs and professionals with the chance to show off their skills, compete for a respected title, and thrill the crowds with dramatic spectacle. Last year’s Kuwait qualifier saw an exciting turnout, with Kuwait King of Drift Ali Makhseed ultimately winning the King of Smoke by Falken Tyres title. Omani competitor, Refaat Al Yahyai, secured the overall 2018 King of Drift crown after a stellar performance.