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 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.
King of Nations Round 1 - UAE - Qualifying
The 2016 Federal Tyres King of Nations Drift Championship has officially begun in UAE. With Fujairah playing host for drivers venturing from as far as the UK and Australia to compete in the first round of the World drift series.
After the success of King of Asia in 2015, and also joining King of Europe in 2015 - Keiichi Tsuchiya is now backing King of Nations where he is judging alongside 2015 King of Europe judge Vernon Zwaneveld and Malaysian judge, Zai Bullzai Hamdan. Tsuchiya lets the drivers know exactly what is expected from them, once again encouraging the high-speed driving that the Drift King is famed for in Japan.
With a wide, open track at their disposal it was a clean slate for the judges to decide the clipping points and the exact lines they would like to see the drivers aim for throughout the weekend. Having a blank canvas undoubtedly offers the opportunity to set the highest speed and most challenging layouts possible.
The fans turned out in their numbers to witness their local drivers go against some of the most highly acclaimed drivers in the World.
Ahmad Daham displayed two extremely impressive qualifying runs, taking pole position with 92.21 points. French driver Nicolas Delorme would take second place, with Ahmed Al Ameri taking third.
Luke Fink went into the weekend hoping to drive with his typically aggressive style, but sadly was stopped in his tracks when he experienced issues with this car which meant that he was forced to retire, leaving him unable to qualify.
Japanese driver Drift Zamurai grabbed 16th place in qualifying, meaning that he will go through to tomorrows Top 32 battles where he’ll undoubtedly be hoping to show off his Japanese driving style.
With the Top 32 battles set to take place tomorrow afternoon, it’s undoubtedly going to make for some fierce competition as the drivers go head-to-head to fight to get a jump-start in the Championship rankings, and take the silverware back for their home Nation!