(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula
Doha, Qatar: Amidst a crowded audience filling the stands of the dedicated drift arena at the Qatar Racing Club, and in a fantastic atmosphere, the first round of the 2023/2024 Qatar Drift Championship concluded with Oman's Haitham Al Hadidi claiming top honours.
The event was held under the patronage of H E Sheikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Thani, the club's chairman, with the participation of a wide array of champions from Qatar, Jordan, Syria, Kuwait, Oman, and Egypt.
From the qualifying trials, it was evident that the competition would be highly exciting.
Qatar Racing Club General Manager Sheikh Jabor bin Khalid Al Thani crowned the winners at the end of the first round of the Qatar Drift Championship.
These trials, held over two sessions on Thursday, resulted in Jordanian contestant Ali Al Jabsheh leading, surpassing the last season's Omani champion Ahmed Al Amri.
Meanwhile, Kuwaiti Salem Al Sarraf and Omani Haitham Al Hadidi secured the third and fourth qualifying positions, respectively. Based on these results, the competitors were placed on the ladder for the dual tandem competitions, which took place on Friday.
In the first round of these competitions, Qatar's Saud Al Attiyah and Oman's Ahmed Al Amri advanced directly to the next round with a“bye” run due to the absence of their competitors, Riyad Al Mabsali and Mubarak Al Dosari, respectively. The remaining matches in this round saw the leader of the qualifying trials, Ali Al Jabsheh, defeating his teammate from the“Brother Team,” Khaled Al Shafei. Additionally, Kuwait's Salem Al Sarraf won against Qatari Abdullah Jawad, while Egyptian Walid Salem triumphed over Syrian contestant Alaaddin Zareef after a rematch, as the first encounter ended in a draw according to the judgment of the judging committee. On the other side of the ladder, Kuwait's Ahmed Al Ghanim, Oman's Al Hadidi, and Jordan's Abdullah Al Muhtaseb joined the qualified contestants for the second round. The first defeated Yaser Al Mustafa, the second overcame contestant Yazan Al Jabsheh, and the third defeated Omani contestant Ali Al Shihani.
Al Jabsheh, Al Muhtaseb and Al Attiyah emerge victorious in National category
The opening round of the racing championship witnessed Ali Al Jabsheh, Saud Al Attiyah, and Abdullah Al Muhtaseb securing top honours in the national category. The podium contenders crystallised after eight formidable contestants battled their way into the quarter-finals, ultimately narrowing down to the final four.
Introduced in the current season under the guidance of the club's director, Sheikh Jabor bin Khalid Al Thani, the National category showcased exceptional talent. Al Jabsheh, seizing victory over Saud Al Attiyah in the initial encounter, secured a spot in the semi-finals. He faced Kuwaiti Salem Al Sarraf, who triumphed over Walid Salem. On the opposing side of the ladder, defending champion Ahmed Al Amri triumphed over Kuwaiti Ahmed Al Ghanim, setting the stage for an all-Omani semi-final against Haitham Al Hadidi, who advanced by defeating Abdullah Al Muhtaseb.
In a dramatic turn of events, Al Jabsheh clinched the national category title, while his“Brother Team” companion Abdullah Al Muhtaseb secured second place, outshining Saud Al Attiyah, who finished sixth in the qualifying trials compared to Al Attiyah's ninth.
Heavyweight clashes in semi-finals
The semi-final match-ups intensified the competition, with last season's Omani champion Ahmed Al Amri facing off against compatriot Haitham Hadidi. Hadidi emerged victorious, earning a coveted spot in the final showdown for round one title. However, the second semi-final took an unexpected turn as Ali Al Jabsheh encountered an accident during the face-off with Salem Al Sarraf. This unfortunate incident propelled Al Sarraf into the final against Hadidi, determining the first and second positions.
Despite the setback, Al Jabsheh couldn't participate in the match for the third and fourth positions due to extensive damage to his car. Consequently, Al Amri secured the third position for this round.
Thrilling final face-off
The final face-off between Hadidi and Al Sarraf kept spectators on the edge of their seats until the last moments. Hadidi emerged victorious, claiming the title of the opening round of the championship, while Al Sarraf settled for the second position.
The award ceremony, a fitting culmination to the intense competition, saw Sheikh Jabor bin Khalid Al Thani, the general manager of Qatar Racing Club, crown the top three winners on the podium. The winners in the National category were also honored, with a total prize pool of up to QR100,000 for the champions in National category and overall, in the presence of a distinguished media gathering.
With the curtain falling on the first-round competitions, preparations are now underway for the second round scheduled on November 23 and 24, setting up a stage for another thrilling chapter in the championship's unfolding saga.
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