Sunday,15 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1245, (7 - 13 May 2015)
Sunday,15 July, 2018
Issue 1245, (7 - 13 May 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Let’s drift again

The Egyptian Drifting Championship excited 4,000 enthusiasts while the Stunt Bike Championship was dominated by Alexandrians. Mohamed Abdel-Razek reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

Nearly four months days had passed since the last second round of the Egyptian drifting motor-sport on 6 February. No action, no adrenaline, just silence.

As Dominic Toretto said in Fast7, “it’s never goodbye”. The Egyptian Drifting Championship (EDC) came back from a blip in good shape to entertain. 2 May marked the comeback of the championship with around 60 drifters lined up for their turn to enter the track and show everyone how much talent and precision they have.

The factors were there for the event to succeed with all duties being assigned for every organising body, which worked in harmony under The Automobile and Touring Club of Egypt. STT race management took care of the race’s technical matters, designing the track layout and managing the track as well as the judges. Pixel Advertising took on the financial responsibilities by managing sponsors and all other essentials for the event.

“I was delighted as a fan watching this epic track design done by the head of STT Shadi Osama,” said fan Osama Salama.

It was all left to the drifters to excel, meaning that they had to please five experienced judges and 4,000 fans all at once.

The judge’s panel combined a variety of Egyptian motor-sport figures. Ahmed Ghanem and Tamer Bashat, two experienced racing champions; Walid Amir who has respectable global drifting experience, Ahmed Radwan, former Formula One marshal, and Manal Eissa, Egypt’s pioneer female racer.

Judging criteria was based on grading the drifters on their car looks (10 points), tire smoke and car sound and crowd reaction (15 points), drifting skills (100 points), and two or five points for the parking challenge at the end of heat 3. “Each heat is judged separately without accumulating points like CPD,” Radwan said.  

The first heat started early morning, with a track designed to filter the drifters, in a way that moves only the drivers with the basic drifting skills or better, to the second heat.

Usually the first heat, out of a total three, is less breathtaking compared to the second and third, because of the number of amateurs participants. Yet, the first heat came with some surprises. Shockingly Mohamed Ali “Debb” qualified last to the second round with only 80 points, after a poor performance all round. Hisham Al-Khatib, who won second place in the first round of the championship, finished the first heat in 31st position out of 41.

At the top of the table, Omar Nasser earned fifth place with 300 points via an E30 M50 engine delivering around 170hp, only two points away from the mighty Rami Serri with his E46 M50 Turbo, which delivers around 500hp. Also Mohamed Abdel-Satar did a great job finishing in eighth position with 298 points.

In the second heat, when nerves subside, the fun began. The drifters showed what they’re made of. Serri danced sideways through the tire smoke to go to the top with 364 points ahead of Haitham Samir who also had a similar performance.

“It was one of the most marvellous heats I’ve ever done throughout my career,” said Serri after heat two. Karim Shlash, who won the first round of the championship, came third with an expected performance from the champ. Hisham Al-Khatib and Adel Sekha jumped from the bottom half to the top half of the table beside Abbadi Al-Zayat.

Debba’s performance dramatically improved putting him in the middle of the table this time. “It’s all about control. Drifters with control and precision got the most points,” Bashat said.

The third and final heat was meant to bring out the best from the remaining 18 drifters. With two tight boxes to do the donut trick and a tricky parking challenge at the end, it was certainly a guts tester.

Unlike the previous heats, the third heat demands talent, precision, and a powerfully appealing car -- plus a bit of luck.

Serri had almost all but it seems he forgot to take some luck with him before crossing the starting line. A broken transmission was more than enough to push Serri off the podium after a great performance all over.

“In the first heat we were testing the car’s abilities, then in the second heat we pushed hard using the anti-lag, which ended up helping me win the second heat, but in the third heat the car couldn’t take it,” Serri said.

The other shock came from Shlash whose performance was enough for 18th place overall. Another big surprise, but a nice one, came from Khatib who convinced the judges to give him 343 points, enough to grant him and his Evo5 first place.

Haitham Samir came second with 342, only one point away from Khatib. Sekha came third with 332 points. Ecko Adel was fourth with 329 points ahead of Hossam Soliman who scored 322 points. “Overall the event was awesome. I was amazed with the perfect driving of the Tanda drift team,” said Radwan.

“Egypt has great talent in drifting who can compete globally, but we still need to help athletes with their sport financially and technically, and such efforts should be done by The Automobile and Touring Club of Egypt and the Egyptian Federation of Motor Sports and Motorcycle,” Amir said. 

The writer is a freelance journalist.

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