Muscat: Oman’s first ever Red Bull Car Park Drift final was a memorable occasion for all those who filled the custom-built arena erected in Port Sultan Qaboos to the rafters.
Read also: Omanis secure top three places at Sultanate's first ever Red Bull Car Park Drift
Given the response, it won’t be long before the nation plays host to many more world-class sporting events. Simon Wall,who has been living in Oman for six years, had accompanied his young son and his son’s friend to the event.
“I had gone to a similar event in Dubai and it wasn’t as well attended as the one here,” said Wall, who serves as a treasurer at the British School Muscat. “The boys here, as you can see, love the event and I think it’s great for Oman to host such events.
“Oman is always traditionally associated with history and character and it’s great to see them incorporate the giant shipping cranes here at Port Sultan Qaboos into the obstacle course,” he added. “Given the success of this event, I am sure there will be many more in the future.”
Also in attendance were the Oman Riders, a group of biking enthusiasts who show a profound love for motorcycles, and often get together to plan road trips across nations. “If I were to tell you the excitement of stepping into a vehicle, you would not understand it,” said Khaled Al Azmi, a member of the group. “It is something that you have to experience yourself. My fellow riders and I have a fondness for bikes and cars, and that is why events like this always excite us.
“I have been interested in cars and motorbikes since the age of 10 and if you look at the number of people who have come here today, it is evident that motorsports is very popular in Oman,” he added. “As you know, all Omanis love their cars, and that was reflected today.”
Also cheering on the racers at the event with his family was Rajiv George of Khimji’s, the parent company for Red Bull in Oman.
“With the oil prices fluctuating in the Middle East and indicating an uncertain future, Oman is looking to expand its presence in tourism.Activities like the Red Bull Cark Park Drift are sure to provide alternative sources of revenue for the country,” he said.
“As we all know, the people here are crazy about automobiles and they will love events like this,” he added. “It’s a great way to spend a weekend in Oman.”
Casting an enthusiastic eye over proceedings was Manny Sabharwal, Director of Distribution for Falken Tyres, one of the sponsors for the race.
“We didn’t expect such a good response to the race, but it is great to see everyone out here,” he told the Times of Oman. “It’s quite clear that the locals here love motor sports and the three Omani racers are an inspiration to everyone here, because every time they are on the track, the audience here cheers very loudly for them. Clearly, this is not one of those sports where the spectators sit idly.
“I think it is really important for companies to understand the needs of sports lovers in the region and help organise activities which everyone can enjoy.”
Racers from 11 nations took part in the 7th edition of the Red Bull Car Park Drift Final. Eighteen-year-old Haitham Al Hadidi became the first Omani to win the tournament, and the youngest.
His countrymen, Lalou Al Baloushi and Tariq Al Shaihani, also recorded podium finishes, making it a memorable event for the Sultanate of Oman.