As the King of Nations series powered by ST suspensions visited the venue which hosted the 2016 King of Desert final, a brand new extended surface and grandstands made for an exciting encounter as the international drivers faced the best pilots from across the Middle East in Muscat, Oman.
With a brand new layout decided by the judges, it would be the ultimate test for the local drivers to prove they have what it takes as they faced up against some of the best drivers in the world.
After taking the win during both of our 2016 King of Desert Drift Arena visits, Omani driver Tariq Al Shaihani was undoubtedly the favourite to beat the international contenders. However, disaster struck as he took the first practice lap of the weekend on the fresh layout, which ended up in the wall subsequently forcing him out of the competition.
Round 1 winner Daigo Saito proved that he was the man to beat once again as he scored 96.50 points during qualifying, also achieving the fastest attack speed of the day at an impressive 104km/h.
Ahmad Daham set out for revenge after taking second in Yas Marina behind the Japanese visitor, but the Jordanian driver would once again settle for second place this time round.
Australian Luke Fink followed in third place with 88.28 points despite being down on power in his V10 powered E46 M3 build.
Disaster struck once again in the final practice sessions before the battles, this time for Daigo Saito. His 1000bhp 2JZ suffered from a critical issue which meant that the Japanese series leader was unable to continue in the competition.
After knocking out Japanese driver Toni Arakaki, King of Nations driver Nasser Almutairi would make an early exit in the Top 16 after an unfortunate mistake allowed local driver Ali Albalushi to advance.
Despite an 8-2 lead in the first run, a rare mistake from current King of Desert Champion Ahmad Daham ended his quest for the top spot in his Top 8 battle against Mesyar Abushaiba.
An impressive run from Luke Fink saw him knock out Mohammed Alasmi and Nick Salomon, who had impressed on his KON debut; he would then pass Mesyar Abushaiba to pave his way to the final.
It would take an intense one-more-time battle for the winner to be decided between Ali Albalushi and Masyar Abushaiba in the small final, but Kuwaiti Abushaiba would defeat the Omani driver to occupy the third spot on the podium.
As the home crowd roared for local driver Mohammed Alsawafi, Luke Fink returned to the final for the second time after facing fellow Australian Michael Prosenik in Malaysia in 2016. This time he wasn’t willing to let the win slip through his fingers again as he fought his way to the top spot of the podium!
Despite an unfortunate weekend, Daigo Saito still leads the King of Nations series, just two points ahead of Luke Fink.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Daham follows closely behind in third.
Kuwaiti Fahad Aljadei still occupies the top spot of the overall series rankings in the King of Desert series with Ahmad Daham in second place, Daigo Saito occupies third but will a local driver take the spot in the final two rounds?
Photos EyeDea Media