The fans of drifting were treated to moments of adrenalin rush recently, as Qatar’s Abdelrahman Fakhroo showcased his drifting skills at the Red Bull Car Park Drift 2016 Season. While the event at the Doha Corniche was conducted in a safe and controlled environment, spectators witnessed some intense moments as they saw several drivers throw their cars around the track at high speeds and massive angles. What made Abdelrahman’s triumph particularly memorable was the fact that he went on to win the competition and clinch the title — Qatar’s King of Drift — while still a rookie.
Having entered the arena of this tyre-burning sport less than five months ago, the young man who has become passionate about the high-energy contest that is currently taking the region by storm, spoke to Community about his victory, his goals and his views.
Tell us something about yourself.
I wear several hats — I’m a university student, a government employee, owner of a couple of small-sized companies and a sea lover; I especially love racing on my jet ski and, of course, I’m a drifter!
I would say I juggle various activities in life. I enjoy the challenges that life offers me and consider time management a critical skill that I need to master, in order to handle my various responsibilities effectively. By the way, I enjoy playing soccer every now and then to maintain my fitness.
Who supports you through this drifting journey? What got you interested in the sport?
I must admit there is no particular person who inspired me with regards to this sport. The driving force is the passion I’ve always had for cars since childhood — anything from drag racing to drifting fascinated me. Being in total control of the car as I navigate through various challenges is important to me; this is the drive behind my urge to win challenges and makes me feel it’s something that must be achieved.
The opportunities available during my early days were limited because of the illegality of street racing and safety concerns. In the recent past, I managed to secure the support of the Drift Line Team and began practicing drifting in a safe and controlled environment. Less than four months ago I participated in a local drifting championship and emerged 2nd overall; I also participated in the Qatar National finals of the Red Bull Car Park Drift 2015 and was ranked 3rd. Encouragement in the Red Bull Car Park Drift events gave a fillip to my passion and also helped sharpen my skills.
I must say the Drift Line Team deserves credit for supporting me all the way. They provided me with a car and the necessary tools; however, when it comes to tuning, design and practicing, I handle things personally. The Team was present during this year’s competition to support me all the way from Kuwait, including the mechanics team who worked with me on tuning the car before the final event. Couldn’t imagine doing it without their support!
What is the main factor that contributed to your recent win?
The competition was stiff, the energy of participating drifters contagious and inspiring — they had amazing drifting skills. Most of them did a fantastic job and truly deserved to be on the podium. However, they were unfortunate and faced technical problems with their cars and to be fair, the judges did give them opportunities to fix their cars and try again. The drift track was tricky and quite challenging, but I was able to quickly get my head around it and master the turns before it was too late; I believe this is what gave me advantage.
As I see it, the main factor that helped me win this challenge was my complete focus on coping with the circuit path; and of course the possibility of earning the title “King of Drift” was a great incentive — it made me want to win the Middle East Championship.
Now, as I prepare for the Red Bull Car Park Drift 2016 Regional Final in Oman, I am focusing on securing the best car possible, with the help of the Drift Line Team. Meanwhile I will also be participating in several other drifting competitions to hone my skills in preparation for the big event.
What has been your most challenging experience in life and why?
Practicing and getting a hang of this motorsport has been my biggest challenge, especially as there were no specialised clubs or locally available professionals to train me during my younger days. Initially, it was a very scary experience and I had to review my decision and consider all the different aspects before starting out. Today, I am glad my decision has been well made.
Tell us about your interest in jet skiing.
I’ve always loved the sea. I got involved in water sports initially as there weren’t many options available in terms of activities during summer in Qatar. Within two years of being involved with water skiing, I bought myself a jet ski and this has made the summer months a lot more exciting.
What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?
That would definitely be earning the title ‘Qatar’s King of Drift’; it is a big achievement as far as I’m concerned, especially as I started to drive officially in the club only about five months ago. This victory urges me to look beyond and think more globally. To me, this title is just the beginning.
What are you looking forward to?
Drift is new motorsport in Qatar. Over the last few years, we’ve seen the Qatar flag being raised on several podiums around the world. However, we’ve had no-one raise our national flag at the international or global drift championships and striving towards that goal is my motivation.
What scares you?
In general, nothing scares me, but if I were to speak of drifting, I would say, we need to fear good competition, which calls for achieving superior skills. As for the condition if the car used during the drift, I do have the fear that a sudden failure or breakdown could happen, which could result in me withdrawing from a competition.
How would you describe your life right now?
My life is currently crowded with lots of daily tasks that need to be done. I need to work hard on my lessons and assignments to maintain a high score at the university and that is a priority. There are also family responsibilities besides the demands of the small business that I own. Then, there are the demands of the maintenance required on my car as I practice drifting. Frankly, I’ve a lot on my plate and I try hard to juggle them all.
What is your favourite pastime or activity?
I love anything related to motorsport and cars.
Tell us your dream.
In general, dreams are temporary goals that may or may not be achieved depending on various factors. As I see it, if there’s a dream that can be achieved, then I don’t just put it on a list, I just go ahead and do it.
What cuisine do you enjoy the most?
Lebanese food is my favourite.
Lessons learnt from life:
Do not wait for other people or situations to come around in your favour if you want to accomplish something, just go ahead and do it yourself.
SPOTLIGHT: Qatar’s King of Drift 2016 u2013 Abdelrahman Fakhroo. SEA-LOVER: Fakhroo jet skiing. BONDING: Cherishing a special moment with his family.