Muscat: Drift racer Haitham Al Hadidi won the title of 'King of Drift' at the Omani qualifiers for the Red Bull Car Park Drift championship on Friday evening. The qualifiers were held at the Marina Muscat Circuit and saw the participation of 22 Omani contestants.
Haitham, with 392 points in the final round qualifiers, was placed ahead of Tariq Al Shehani, who collected 386 points. Sami Al Shaibani, the third-place winner, collected 369 points and Refaat Al Yahyai, with 341 points, was placed fourth. He was the champion of the last three editions of the qualifiers.
Al Hadidi will now represent Oman in the finals, scheduled to be held in Cairo in November. At the end of the tournament, Brigadier General Mohammed Al Kindi, a member of the Board of Directors of the Oman Automobile Association (OAA), crowned the winners in the presence of a large audience.
With the end of the qualifiers, the OAA has finished most events on its agenda for the season, having previously hosted the Oman International Drift Championship and other rally and karting championships.
Focused competition at qualifiers
All contestants gave strong competition at the qualifiers and the race for the title was perhaps the most fiercely fought. Four out of the 22 contestants withder before the start due to a lack of availability of cars. These included Ali Al Balushi, Ali Reza Ostadi, Mr. Zulkifl and Nabil Al Riyami. The competition, from the beginning however saw five names shining through.
A difficult victory
Al Hadidi, speaking after winning, said, "Everything was good and competition was strong, difficult and very fierce. I am happy with this victory and I also hope to be a good representative of the Sultanate in the finals in November."
Tariq Al-Shehani, who won second place praised Al Hadidi said, "I know winning the title was difficult and I am satisfied with the result. There is no difference between me and Haitham. I wish him success in representing Oman in the finals."
Ranked third, Sami Al Shaibani commented on the improvement in the technical skills of the Omani contestants. "Everyone noticed the strength of the competition and from qualifying to victory, it was all about small details and a few points different. We hope to achieve a great result in November."
Refaat Al Yahyai, the champion of the last three qualifiers said, "A slight mistake cost me a lot. The tournament is good and I am waiting for it. Congratulations to the winners and I hope for a honourable representation by the winner Haitham in the finals."
Great skills led to strong competition
Race Director Fahmi Nasser Al Busaidi said, "This year, Omani contestants presented good skills and proved themselves to be strong competitors. The convergence of the skill levels of the contestants will make announcing the champion this year a tough task."
"The annual qualifiers are organised in partnership with the Omani Automobile Association, Dunlop tires, Hi-FM, Hala FM and Red Bull Mobile. Competition was strong and we are happy for the success of the event," said Soha Emam, Field Marketing Manager at Red Bull.