Ahmad Daham, the official Red Bull drifter, talks about the famous “Shop and Ship” video he featured in, and what’s it’s like drifting on the roads of Dubai.
How was your experience drifting on the roads of Dubai?
It was a tough one considering there was a lot of traffic along the way. There were several cars around me that I needed to dodge. The heat also added to the challenge. But all in all, drifting in the streets of Dubai was an absolutely thrilling experience and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Where in Dubai did you drift for the video?
We drifted in a lot of places including Al Qouz, the road next to Skydive Dubai and the famous Sheikh Zayed road.
How was this drifting experience different to others?
Normally you would get to practice a day before the event to familiarize yourself with the track and prepare well in advance. There is room for errors initially and you can correct yourself before you head to the actual competition. However, in this particular instance, I had to get it right the first time due to the limited amount of time we got the permission for. That made the whole experience harder than participating in a competition.
Talk us through the permission-seeking phase.
We sought permission from the Dubai Police after informing them about our intention of shooting this video for and the areas where we would be drifting. They were kind enough to let us do it, so a big thank you to them.
How safe was the experience?
In normal circumstances, we have obstacles that we need to avoid, but in this case it was the traffic we had to steer clear of. So it was slightly different but totally safe.
What was the reaction of people watching you drift on the Sheikh Zayed Road?
Wherever the onlookers spotted our vehicle, they took out their phones and started making videos and pictures of us drifting. There was a clear sense of excitement in the atmosphere and everyone seemed very enthusiastic to be witnessing such a spectacle.
What is your message to aspiring drifters around the world?
Just keep on trying and never give up because nothing in life worth having comes easy. I tried for 5 years non-stop before Red Bull appointed me as one of their official athletes. Hard work and perseverance pays off so if you maintain that never-say-die spirit, you will eventually succeed.
With just one showdown left before the Red Bull Air Race World Champion is crowned, Japan’s Yoshihide Muroya launched himself to second overall with a brilliant win at Germany’s Lausitzring on Sunday. Australia’s Matt Hall finished the race in second, and in clinching third place, Martin Šonka of the Czech Republic held on to the top of the overall leaderboard – just barely.
Šonka and Muroya came into the Lausitzring at first and fourth in the World Championship standings, and when they both made the Final 4, the busloads of Czech fans in the sold-out crowd were on their feet. Once Hall set the standard with 50.846, Muroya was next to go, and he blazed ahead with a time of 50.451. After Spain’s Juan Velarde incurred a penalty, it was all in Šonka’s hands. The Czech ace flew strong at 50.964. Not quite strong enough for the win, but his third-place points gave his supporters plenty to celebrate.
The Lausitzring results have guaranteed that the season finale at the USA’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be unmissable. One of four pilots will seize the World Championship at the world-famous “Brickyard” speedway. At the top of the overall leaderboard, Šonka has 63 points, Muroya is just 4 points back with 59, and Canada’s Pete McLeod is well within reach at 56. Each will be determined to capture what would be their first overall title and the first for their country. Meanwhile, at 52 points Kirby Chambliss retains a chance to overthrow them all, and the American will have the advantage of home crowd support as well as his experience earning two previous titles.
“It’s a win, so of course it’s very, very satisfying. We had a hard time in Kazan and Porto, then we prepared very well, so thanks to all of my team members,” said a beaming Muroya. “We knew we would be able to fight for the championship this year. The plan for Indianapolis is easy: just go fast and go get the win.”
Now the race teams and their fans have four high-pressure weeks to wait until the season reaches its climax at Indianapolis on 14-15 October.
Results Master Class Lausitzring 2017:
1. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN), 2. Matt Hall (AUS), 3. Martin Šonka (CZE), 4. Juan Velarde (ESP), 5. Pete McLeod (CAN), 6. Kirby Chambliss (USA), 7. Mikaël Brageot (FRA), 8. Petr Kopfstein (CZE), 9. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA), 10. François Le Vot (FRA), 11. Cristian Bolton (CHI), 12. Matthias Dolderer (GER), 13. Peter Podlunšek (SLO), 14. Michael Goulian (USA)
World Championship standings after seven of eight races:
1. Martin Šonka (CZE) 63 points, 2. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 59 pts, 3. Pete McLeod (CAN) 56 pts, 4. Kirby Chambliss (USA) 52 pts, 5. Matt Hall (AUS) 37 pts, 6. Petr Kopfstein (CZE) 37 pts, 7. Juan Velarde (ESP) 28 pts, 8. Matthias Dolderer (GER) 27 pts, 9. Michael Goulian (USA) 24 pts, 10. Mikaël Brageot (FRA) 19 pts, 11. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) 16 pts, 12. Peter Podlunšek (SLO) 14 pts, 13. François Le Vot (FRA) 9 pts, 14. Cristian Bolton (CHI) 7 pts
ABOUT RED BULL AIR RACE
Created in 2003, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship celebrated its landmark 75th race at the 2017 season opener in Abu Dhabi. The Red Bull Air Race World Championship features the world’s best race pilots in a pure motorsport competition that combines speed, precision and skill. Using the fastest, most agile, lightweight racing planes, pilots hit speeds of 370kmh while enduring forces of up to 10G as they navigate a low-level slalom track marked by 25-meter-high, air-filled pylons. In 2014, the Challenger Cup was conceived to help the next generation of pilots develop the skills needed for potential advancement to the Master Class that vies for the World Championship.