Friday,25 May, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1373, (14 - 20 December 2017)
Friday,25 May, 2018
Issue 1373, (14 - 20 December 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Brave start

Ahmed Hamada took third place in the Middle East finals of the Car Park Drift series hosted in Kuwait, his first international challenge. Mohamed Abdel-Razek reports

#Hamada going sideways in his E30 2JZ #From right to left Hamada, Al-Yahyai, and Al-Takriti
# #

Solid-hearted Egyptian Ahmed Hamada smoked his way to the podium in the toughest drift competition in the Middle East. Watching the finals in Sirbb Circuit in Kuwait along with 4,000 spectators on Friday 8 December, or on TV, you might have recalled some of the history of our Egyptian drivers who participated in the past years, only that is, if you are a redneck race car fanatic from Egypt.

With all their experience and podium victories, for most Egyptian drivers who reached the finals for the first time in CPD in the past years, it wasn’t long before they had another shot. Whether fear that keeps your feet shaking on the pedals or forces mistakes, like putting the wrong gear and breaking your transmission, it was certainly fear and anxiety that won against Egyptian drivers in their first CPD finals experience. Maybe the technical aspects were also a factor, like throwing yourself in a car that you’re not used to at the last minute, or bringing an uncompetitive car from Egypt, like a knife to a gunfight.

Hamada arrived this year to publish his catalogue on how you can come all the way from the land of the Pyramids and be really competitive among the Middle East drift butchers.

He kept a low profile domestically in the past year. He might have had his eyes on the target but he never made it clear. Hamada kept gaining experience and refining his drifting skills while participating in almost every national drift competition. Consistently drifting, Hamada never appeared worried about drawing attention to anything else other than his performance on the track, which helped lift any pressure off his back and maintain his silence, as compared to other Egyptian drivers who some might expect a lot from every time they hit the track but may not deliver because they’re simply not fitting well in their bucket seats.

The support of Hamada’s team, especially Maged Abo-Selim, who participated in the last edition of the CPD finals, played such a big role that Hamada nearly forgot he’s the only driver representing Egypt. Abo-Selim transferred all his experience to Hamada. “One of the biggest challenges is choosing the car,” said Abo-Selim who had to go all the way to Jordan to test the car that Hamada would participate in. That killed all the concerns that the car might be a weak factor for the Egyptian team. As to the psychological factor, Abo-Selim told Al-Ahram Weekly that he made sure to tell Hamada how he should react and manage his output through the three heats of the drift competition.

Abo-Selim added that what worried him and Hamada the most was that he was not 100 per cent used to the car compared to the other competitors who were participating with their own cars. “In Egypt we don’t have rules for registering race cars, which makes it hard on the racer to bring his racing car into the country with rules that supports him,” said Abo-Selim. That’s why the only way was to rent a car from Jordan, a country well known for its well-built drift cars. The Egyptians settled on a BMW E30 with a 2JZ engine under the bonnet.    

On the first heat, Abo-Selim made it clear to Hamada that he just needed to go through the assigned route committing the least mistakes possible. This year the performance was determined based on car look and design (10%), tire smoke (10%), car sound (7%), section 1 drifting (15%), section 2 drifting (15%), boxes (15%), gates (15%), and pendulum (13%). 

Hamada past the first heat with his hands tied behind his back. In the second heat, tuning the car to produce 550hp, just like the first heat, Hamada nearly had a clean run but was slightly slow in some sectors, not moving enough sideways. In the third heat, Hamada tuned the car to 610hp, and decided to push to the limit. His speed in the third heat was exceptional as was the flow. He really gave it everything, making it hard to think of anyone who could produce more with the same car. Maybe some points here and there made him finish third, like the smoke that may’ve been more or had a special colour, but at the end, he was never far from perfection.

Congratulations to Hamada and Othman Al-Takriti from Jordan in second, and Rafaat Al-Yahyai from Oman who was crowned the Middle East drift king for 2017.

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