Thursday,23 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1299, (9 - 15 June 2016)
Thursday,23 November, 2017
Issue 1299, (9 - 15 June 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Something’s burning

In a furious night full of wild tire burns and sideways drifting, Maged Abu Selimoutshone the field in the special edition of the CPD 2016. Mohamed Abdel-Razek reports

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Al-Ahram Weekly

For the first time since the premier edition of CPD began in Egypt, the lights beamed down for the drift warriors to draw their tire marks in a whole new experience for both the fans and the drivers. Seventeen drifters qualified from the first day, 2 June, for the chance to show their finest skills in front of nearly 2,000 screaming fans in the main event which took place Friday 3 June at Tulip Hotel along the Suez road.

The sun went down, the stands were packed and the four tough judges, Nasser Abo Heif, Tarek Khedr, Ahmed Radwan and Ahmed Al-Wakil, were glued to their seats waiting for the party to start. Judges granted their grades as follows: 60 points for car looks, 40 marks for the smoke coming out of the tire burn, 60 marks on the clipping point, and 20 marks for performing donuts inside two boxes. Added to this is the drifting technique of the driver dividing the track into two sectors.

The track started with the drivers taking off from the start, forming a donut around a wooden box, going sideways, twisting right and left in between barrels, then throwing the car sideways, passing in front of their fans with a clean 45 degrees angle that brought spectators to their feet.

The driver maintains his sideways momentum twisting right and left till reaching the barrels, which forms a number 11 shape. This is where the first sector of the track ends. What follows is a 180 round around the 11 heading to the clipping point, where the driver should aim the rear fender of his drifting machine at a hanging rubber ball, then passing by the fans once more and going around the wooden box, spinning inside the two boxes.

From the first car, it was clear that the competition among the drivers would be glowing hot. Last year’s winner Ahmed Desouki tried to do a clean run to make for the points he might lose because of his modest car looks. “We gave all the competitors the same 40 points on their car looks because simply we didn’t have time to take a look at their cars before the race,” said Al-Wakil. Many drivers believed this to be unfair as they were not informed before the race with this dramatic change in the judging. Many also felt it was unfair to put all the cars in the same basket, wasting money and annulling efforts by some drivers who spent on their cars to gain points. “I can’t put my hands on a clear judging system, but I am calling for more fairness”, said disqualified competitor Hamada Zalat.

With this change in scenario, all competitors were very close and the judging got trickier as mostly the driving skills became the separator. Hisham Al-Khatib, Al-Ashram, Abdel-Satar, Ahmed Mini, and Sayed Abo Gharib were the black horses of the competition with their clinical driving styles, however, they couldn’t make it to the final heats.

In the arena some started to predict which drivers would fight for the title. The favourites were Rami Serri with his new RX7 drifting machine, Haitham Samir with his RX8 beauty, Moataz Atef with his E30-1jz, and Hossam Suleiman with his new monster E92-LS3. But destiny and Maged Abu Selim along with Ahmed Hammada teamed up to have their say. Five cars broke down.  Amin Elewa started the KO list with a broken clutch pedal in the first heat, then Atef with a broken motor in the second heat, along with Samir and Suleiman and Serri with various unknown problems. “I prepare myself and the car and the rest is my destiny and God’s will,” said Atef. On the other hand Abu Selim along with his E36 had a stable flow from the first heat reaching the top eight then the top four in style.

Serri decided to be extra cautious in the first two heats, and pushed hard in the third when his car could not withstand his heavy foot and broke down in the last sector of the track.

Samir stunned all in the first two heats with his usual world class performance, but stunned them again when his car broke down in the middle of the final heat and was ruled out, meaning that he will not take his place on the podium for the first time in nearly four years. He will also not be in the finals for the first time in two years.

With such unexpected scenes, the road was paved in front of Hammada to climb the podium. With Abu Selim’s great performance, he captured first place to continue his winning streak after winning the last edition of the Egyptian Drifting Championship. Serri came second and Hammada third.

This year, only the first place winner will compete in the Middle East finals in Oman. That upset Serri. “I was very reluctant especially because it was the first time I compete with a Japanese car. But I was very hungry for the title.

“I think this time it went very well, however, the power steering failure at the last maneuver cost me the championship. But that doesn't mean anything. Now I know I'm on the right track,” Serri said.

At the same time, there is now a load of pressure on the back of Abu Selim who will be participating in the Middle East finals for the first time.

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