This weekend saw drivers from across the Middle East fight for the title at the first ever Federal Tyres King of Desert Championship Final under the spotlights of the Oman Automobile Association track in Muscat, Oman. King of Europe veteran driver Aleksandr Grinchuk would join the judging team alongside King of Europe judge Vernon Zwaneveld and local judge Wade Uqba.
Qualification saw Ahmad Daham once again lay down an impressive qualifying run of 92.61 points, earning him vital points to extend his lead at the top of the Championship table. Despite missing the first round in Fujairah, second round winner Tariq Al-Shaihani would qualify narrowly behind Daham scoring 87.01 points and proving that he would be looking to cause Daham some difficulty in his quest for the title.
Ali Al-Balushi who currently sat in second place of the Championship standings would sadly struggle during qualifying taking 11th place with some car issues after impressing at both previous rounds. His S13 would be looking the part with a fresh livery and despite a disappointing qualifying session he still stood a fighting chance at the Championship.
As the battles got underway on the Friday evening, Tariq Al-Shaihani would find himself head-to-head against Dany Neville. Neville was clearly pleased to impress in his RTR Mustang which was previously owned by Vaughn Gittin Jr and forced Al-Shaihani to a one more time. Despite Dany’s impressive efforts, Al-Shaihani would eventually pass into the Top 8.
Mohammed Alsawafi, who occupied fifth place in the Championship going into this Final round would find himself going up against Championship leader Ahmad Daham in his Top 4 battle. After unfortunately going off-track on his first run, he would leave Daham to progress to the final.
Tariq Al-Shaihani would face Abdullah Murad Albulushi in the other Top 4 battle, with both drivers on strong form and showing extremely impressive driving throughout the weekend. Albulushi would unfortunately spin out during his run which would allow Al-Shaihani to progress to the final to fight for his second consecutive win.
In the small final, Alsawafi and Abdullah Murad Albulushi would go up against each other. Alsawafi would find himself spinning out whilst trying to push the limit of his car in the first run and despite taking the win in the second battle, his initial 10-0 eventually cost him a chance of a one more time. Abdullah Murad Albulushi’s impressive driving had paid off as he secured the third place spot on the podium.
As the final arrived, it was undoubtedly a treat for the local fans to watch take place. Two of the finest and most consistent drivers throughout the series would go head-to-head. As the battle got underway, Ahmad Daham would narrowly take the win in the first run. With both drivers door-to-door in the second battle, Daham would unfortunately make a miss-shift which would allow Al-Shaihani to take his second back-to-back position at the top of the podium!
Despite Al-Shaihani taking the win at two rounds and finishing in second place overall in the Championship, it would eventually be consistency that paid off for Daham. After taking podium spots at each round of the series and also taking the top spot in qualifying each time, he would be deservedly crowned the first ever Federal Tyres King of Desert Champion! Congratulations to Ahmad Daham for his fantastic achievement!
We’ve seen some incredible places, cars and driving take place during our first time in the Middle East for Federal Tyres King of Desert. It’s also been a great opportunity for drivers to compete in a Championship against some of the finest drivers across the World, visiting from as far as France and Australia to take part. We would like to thank the drivers who have participated in our first time here and fans who have attended – we can’t wait to head back in 2017!
Photos Eyedea Media, King of Europe / King of Desert