Muscat: Oman is set to welcome 30 international drift racers who will take part alongside 14 of their Omani counterparts in the latest leg of the King of Desert drifting championship at the Oman Automobile Association on February 2 and 3.
The event, being held as a part of the Muscat Festival, is the third leg of the King of Desert championship, and will see its return to Oman after the first leg. The first leg was also held here on December 22 and 23, 2016. The second leg of the event was held at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.
“A month ago, we hosted the first round of the King of Desert championship. This is part of the King of Nations drifting tournament held across the world,” said Suleiman Al Rawahi, the Managing Director of the Oman Automobile Association.
“We have about 44 drivers from 12 countries. The foreign drivers are coming from different parts of the GCC, as well as countries such as Japan, Australia, France, the Czech Republic and the USA.
“We hosted two rounds of the King of Desert last year, and this season, we’ve already hosted one round,” he added.
“We are expecting a very good turnout for this event. Our local championships began about four years ago and we have seen quite a lot of improvement, both in terms of our organisational capabilities and our drivers’ skills.
“Today, Oman is known across the Middle East as a nation that produces some of the best drift drivers, and we hope we will soon be noticed internationally as well. Al Rawahi is proud to see Oman earn accolades in the sport of drifting, and is sure that past successes will spur those who wish to enter the sport.
“We all saw that at the Red Bull Car Park drift, which was held last year, three Omanis - Haitham Al Hadidi, Lalou Al Balushi and Tariq Al Shihani–had claimed the top three places in the finalheld at Port Sultan Qaboos. Naturally, this will generate more interest in the sport,” he explained.
“Our aim is to develop motorsports in Oman in general, and after what we have achieved, we are very proud.
“This is another opportunity to look at Omani drivers who are new to the sport, and see how they will benefit from the ongoing revolution of motorsports in Oman.
“In a very short span, our drivers have improved a lot, and now they are winning. It shows how far we have reached and we are very proud to see Omanis recognised as professional drivers in drifting,” added Al Rawahi.
After the Oman leg, slated for this weekend, the King of Desert championship will move to Amman in Jordan on March 16 and 17, before its final stop in Bahrain on March 23 and 24.
It is, though, just one of the five series that make up the King of Nations drifting series. While a King of Asia tournament is also organised, three more are set in Europe, where two separate drifting races are organised for men and women, in addition to a special King of Touge version, which sees drifters compete for first place across mountainous terrain.