Fast and Furious: Abu Dhabi drift…

The Red Bull Car Park Drift series is about to turn the ignition on a 15th season this weekend, and the startline is Abu Dhabi’s Corbiche, this Saturday March 4.

Through the haze of smoking tyres, near-miss autombile chicanery, taking the rules of physics to the absolute melting point — the expert drivers of the Red Bull Car Park Drift entourage will battle it out on a specially built track at Nation Towers, in front of thousands of souped-up petrol-head fans.

The winner of this event, which run in parnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Sports Council, will be crowned the UAE’s King of Drift and then go on to represent the country in the World Finals, later in the year.

Long sure drift

A long sure drift — that’s what fans look for in thsese sorts of competition (not to be cofused with everyone’s favourite year eight georaphy topic — ‘longshore drift’). The type exemplified by one of the sport’s most totemic heroes, Abdo Feghali who holds the Guinness World Record for the Longest Drift.

Talking ahead of the new season, Feghali said: “I honestly believe we will meet some new champions this year and that new blood keeps me excited about this competition. This year I’m especially lucky to be driving the All New Nissan Z and that really adds to the flavour of the event for me personally.”

Why is drifting so exciting to watch?

The routes of exhibition-style drifting date back all the way to the 1960s where Tokyo’s first drifters took to the off-road tracks of the Japanese mountains, to test their machine (and their tyres) to the limit.

It’s the thrill of speed, the power, the precision, the fact it’s a car travelling in a seemingly contradictory direction to the way that it’s pointing, the full throttle, old Lexus on the SZR brazen catstastrophe-flirting and the exciting theatrics of smoke and wing mirrors. The drivers of the Red Bull Car Park Drift earn their points from expert judges who’ll be looking out for drifting tekkers, ability to complete challanges like being able to stop in a narrow box, and of course knocking over zone demarking cones, is a hard drifting red flag.

Red Bull Draft

The Red Bull Car Park Drift Championship began in Lebanon in 2008, with an event that took place in an actual indoor Beirut mall car park. Since then the sport has of course snowballed adding more events and locations, and now today — for this 15th edition the rosta includes 12 months of events spread across the region and beyond, culminating in the World Final, which will be held in Doha, Qatar on December 1.

Last season saw 24 drivers from 18 countries all competing to become the grand high King of Drift. The winner was Hisham Al Khatib who entered on a wild card and chucked his Toyota GT86 through such a mindbending sequence of stunts at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit last December.

Nation Towers, Abu Dhabi Corniche, Sat March 4, doors open at 2pm.

Images: Provided