Muscat: Coming up with a sensational performance, Rafaat Al Yahyai emerged the champion at 2017 Red Bull Car Park Drift Series Final organised in Kuwait recently and in the process ensured that King of Drift title remained in the Sultanate.
According to information received on Sunday, Rafaat Al Yahyai showed his skills in front of 4,000 spectators and impressed the judges to win the the 2017 Red Bull Car Park Drift Series Final.
Jordan’s Othman Al Takriti won the second place while Ahmad Hamada from Egypt settled for the third place.
The day started with motorsport spectators lining up at Sirbb Circuit to witness the high adrenaline spectacle and find out who will claim the coveted 2017 King of Drift title.
The final was held under the patronage of Sheikh Ali Fawaz Al Sabah, organised by Basel Salem Al Sabah Motor Racing Club, in co-operation with SIRBB Circuit and partners Total, Falken, Shop & Ship, PS4, Nissan, Boubyan Bank, Drag 965, Acqua Eva and Trolley. Media partners, MBC Action, Kuwait Times and Aljarida covered this popular event.
The drifters then began the first heat consisting of 15 drifters on a challenging track concocted by Abdo Feghali, Guinness World Book Record holder for the longest drift. The first round featured 15 drifters from Kuwait, Egypt, Lebanon, Mauritius, Bahrain, Tunisia, Jordan, Oman, Morocco, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, and Palestine.
Consisting of top motorsport and drifting experts and athletes, the judging panel were assigned the task of evaluating the competitors. Brothers Elias and Johannes Hountdonji, together forming “Team Driftbrothers”, are both expert drifters from Germany with a history of full-on drifting careers. Aleksandr Grinchuk, Ukrainian native, has participated in every competition in the city of Odessa, Ukraine, since kickstarting his drifting career in 2007. Local racer and Kuwait’s first certified FIA racing driver, Khaled Al Mudhaf, rounded up the highly qualified judging panel.
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 and design (10 percent), tire smoke (10 percent), car sound (7 percent), section one drifting (15 percent), section two drifting (15 percent), boxes (15 percent), gates (15 percent) and pendulum (13 percent).
The top 8 who broke through to the second round were Raafat Al Yahyai, Othman Al Takriti, Ahmad Hamada, Sary Zahalan, Mohammed Al Mansouri, Shahab Pishanidar, Ali Makhseed, and Nassim Saad. This time, only four would make it to the next round. While awaiting the action to resume, spectators were treated to a show by Julien Welsch, pro stunt rider since 2009, who displayed his unique talents to the roaring crowd.
The final four from the second round, Rafaat Al Yahyai, Othman Al Takriti, Ahmad Hamada, and Sary Zahalan all went head to head, with one aim - to be crowned the 2017 King of Drift. Local Kuwaiti competitor, Ali Maskheed impressed the judges with his tire smoke and was awarded the King of Smoke title by Falken Tires.
Ultimately, Oman’s Rafaat Al Yahyai edged past the competition and clinched the title with a jaw-dropping performance collecting an impressive 378 points, ensuring that the crown remains in Oman, after his compatriot Haitham Al Hadidi had won it last year.
He was beaming with pride as he held the trophy and explained what it meant to him: “I am incredibly happy to be crowned the 2017 King of Drift and delighted that the crown will remain in Oman for another year.”