The first ever Round of the highly anticipated Federal Tyres King of Nations World Drift Championship has come to an end. With contenders entering from all over the globe to battle it out for valuable early points in the Championship, the custom built track by Keiichi Tsuchiya in Fujairah, Emirates overlooking the Sheikh Zayed Mosque laid the foundations for the perfect start to 2016.
As qualifying got underway, it was immediately clear that the level of driving and cars in the UAE are extremely impressive. French driver Nicolas Delorme managed to reach 2nd, with the UK’s Steve Biagioni in 12th followed by Japan’s Drift Zamurai in 16th. C Andre Silva and Marco Mansur who had travelled from Brazil made 24th and 28th place respectively. It would be Iraq’s Ahmad Daham who would take the top ranking, with Ahmed Alameri placed below Delorme and Abdulhadi Al-Qahtani and Sultan Kayello following close behind.
As we entered the Top 32 battles, drivers and fans alike would have to come up against a strong sandstorm. This failed to stop the event going ahead, and the fans still flocked to the area to witness the action in their masses. With tsuiso practice going down, the drivers were once again showing their capabilities on the high-speed, challenging layout built by the the Drift King, Keiichi Tsuchiya.
As the battles got underway, it would be Japanese driver Drift Zamurai who would produce the first spectacle for the crowds as he went up against pole position qualifier Ahmad Daham. In a David vs Goliath-type battle, Zamurai, in a borrowed SR20 S13 would get within inches of Daham’s 950-horsepower beast in a perfect show of Japanese style and control throughout the layout. Ultimately after a one-more-time, it would be Daham who would eventually edge his way through to the Top 8. The Top 16 would also see the UK’s Steve Biagioni’s run come to an end, as an unforced error saw Sultan Kayello take one step closer to the podium.
As highly anticipated drivers such as Abdulhadi Al-Qahtani, Ali Albalushi and Sultan Al-Qassimi were forced out during their Top 8 battles, just four spaces remained.
First and second in qualifiers, Daham and Delorme would now go head-to-head in the Small Final, and it would ultimately be Delorme in his 400 horsepower BMW E30 who would take the win, despite an equal 5-5 first run, the second run would finish 10-0 to hand Delorme third place.
As the eagerly awaited final battle arrived, the first run would see Sultan Kayello make an unfortunate mistake, making it 10-0 to Ahmed Al Ameri in his Toyota GT86. The second battle would finish 6-4 in Ahmed Al Ameri’s favour, meaning that he would take the King of Nations and King of Desert Round 1 title! Second place would go to Sultan Kayello, Third place of King of Nations goes to Nicolas Delorme and Third place for King of Desert goes to Ahmad Daham.
Overall it was an incredible start to the Federal Tyres King of Nations World Championship in the UAE. Federal Tyres King of Desert Round 2 will continue in Muscat, Oman on 5th February. Federal Tyres King of Nations Round 2 will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 26th and 27th March.