After an incredible 2016 season in the King of Desert Championship, drivers flocked from across the Middle East to battle for the first win of the highly anticipated 2017 season under the floodlights of the Drift Arena in Muscat, Oman.
With many brand new and revised builds having their first outing for the event, the Drift Arena which hosted the 2016 final was the perfect location for drivers to once again push their cars to the limits to impress the capacity crowd.
The new builds wouldn’t come without issues as some of the leading drivers such as current Champion Ahmad Daham and the Lunatics by Nature team were among those struggled with car issues throughout the practice and qualifying day.
It would create the perfect opportunity for new drivers to shine and Abdullah Al Balushi did exactly that as he took the top spot in qualifying with Sami Al Shaibani taking second place.
All eyes were on Haitham Al Hadidi following the youngsters recent success in the region and he once again impressed to take third place on his series debut.
As the sun set on practice for Day Two, it was time for the night to fall and for the much-awaited Top 32 battles to commence.
The first major upset in the battles would be the early exit of Tariq Al Shaihani. Having taken second place overall in 2016 and also winning both times here in Oman previously. Fahad Al Jadei provided a shock as he fought on his debut to knock him out after a one more time battle.
Ali Makhseed and Ahmed Tarek had both been showing impressive form in their return to the Championship. Unfortunately it wasn’t an all-Supra battle since Makhseed’s engine failure the day before., however Makhseed adapted quickly to his borrowed Nissan S13 replacement to advance.
Current King of Desert Ahmad Daham would become the next victim. Despite an overnight engine swap and pulling out all the stops to fight for the win once again, it wasn’t to be as Refaat Al Yahyai marked his place in the Top 8.
As Ahmed Al Ameri sealed his place in the Top 4 against top qualifier Al Balushi, Ali Al Shaihani, Ali Makhseed and Al Jadei also secured their spots.
What would’ve undoubtedly been an incredible Top 4 battle between 2016’s Round 1 winner Al Ameri and Ali Al Shaihani was to be concluded by yet another unfortunate engine issue for Al Ameri, sealing Al Shaihani’s place in the final.
It would be Ali Makhseed vs Al Jadei in the next Top 4 battle, with Al Jadei showing his insane amounts of grip around the track in his Nissan PS13 he took a 6-4 advantage in his lead run. With Ali Makhseed losing third gear, it was all for the taking for Al Jadei as he didn’t disappoint with marking his place in the final against Al Shaihani.
As both drivers put in their best efforts in the final, it would be Al Jadei’s sheer pace which once again handed him the advantage in the lead run. Despite a solid effort from Ali Al Shaihani on his lead, Al Jadei refused to give up and the 5-5 score would hand the Kuwaiti driver his first ever Federal Tyres King of Desert win!
It was undoubtedly a mixed start to the season for the drivers, the series is now completely open with last years best yet to show what they have to offer.
As more drivers than ever attended from across the Middle East, Ali Al Shaihani ensured Oman a spot on the podium while Ali Makhseed joined Al Jadei with flying the flag for Kuwait.
Photos EyeDea Media