Muscat: Ali Al Balushi, aka. ‘Lalou’, was crowned Oman’s ‘King of Drift’ for the fourth consecutive year at the Red Bull Car Park Drift Oman Qualifier, held on Friday in association with Oman Automobile Association. The champion drifter, after taking first place with 387 points, will go on to represent Oman in front of a home crowd at the final hosted by Oman in December. Second place was awarded to Haitham Al Hadidy (385 points) and third place to Tarek Al Shaihani (382 points).
The Oman Qualifier, now in its seventh year, showcased 16 of the Sultanate’s most skilful drifters as they battled it out on the challenging track.
Soon after winning, Ali Al Balushi said, “I’m so happy to take home first place for the fourth year. I can’t wait to compete for the regional title in front of all my family, friends and supporters in December. At the final last year I came in second. I promise this year it will be first.”
At just 18 years of age, first time competitor Haitham Al Hadidi won second place, just two points behind Al Balushi. “It was an amazing experience and I feel so happy to have won second place in my very first competition,” said Al Hadidi.
The drifters’ skills were put to the test as a panel of four judges evaluated their moves. The judges looked for an impressive exterior and smoke, how accurately the competitors followed the track, how well they continuously drifted and more. The demanding track was designed by Red Bull Athlete and Rally Champion Abdo Feghali.
Commenting on the calibre of the competition, Abdo Feghali said, “The Red Bull Car Park Drift Oman is really on fire. The judges’ life is really hard because of the drifters and level of drifting. I’m really proud to see Oman reach this level.”
Each year a judging panel of 3-4 motorsports veterans and experts select the country winners, who go on to compete in the final, where one Overall Winner is crowned ‘King of Drift’. UAE drifter Ahmad Daham took the top spot in 2015 with his flawless performance in a Nissan Silvia, followed 23 points behind by Ali Al Balushi.