In the past couple of months, the Middle East was host to Formula DRIFT and several professional drivers from the championship series. Competition was held in Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit, a premier Formula 1 competition track, and in Qatar at the Qatar Racing Club. Dai Yoshihara was one of the drivers that were invited to compete in this exclusive drifting competition experience. Due to his main competition car being prepped for the 2011 Formula DRIFT season, Dai opted to use his personal time attack Nissan 350Z convertible. Only having a few weeks for build and tune time before the first event in Abu Dhabi, Dai's crew wasted no time in prepping the car to be ready for pro-drift competition.
"Time was seriously against us," explains Dai. "We barely had enough time to build the car for competition. Our first real testing time was during the practice sessions in Abu Dhabi." Having rushed to get the car ready, during practice in Abu Dhabi, a head gasket blew which caused the motor to seize and Dai was out of the competition. "Unfortunately we ran out of time and testing was limited," explains Dai. "My crew and I did our best to get the car ready for competition."
Although having a better result in Qatar, the lack of time to test and tune continued to affect Dai's performance. In qualifying, Dai landed a strong fourth place with a total of 72 points. The first round of competition was against Tony Brakohiapa and his Ford Mustang. The first two laps of battle were close enough for a "one more time" to be called.
During the second battle, Dai's Nissan 350Z convertible had trouble transitioning into a drift that forced his car off line. The result would be a loss for Dai that prematurely ended his night. "We fixed a lot of the problems but weren't 100%; however, the car was much better than the Abu Dhabi event," describes Dai. "I had a lot of fun at this event and I thank everyone that was part of this experience. Because of my drifting career, I'm fortunate enough to travel to new countries to see new places and meet new people."
A special thank you goes out to the people of Formula DRIFT, Yas Marina Circuit, and Qatar Racing Club. Without the support of these organizations, this competition would not have occurred. During the off-season, Dai and his crew have been preparing for the 2011 Formula DRIFT season. His team has been steadily at work rebuilding the Nissan 240SX S13 to conform to new series rules. The car will be completely rebuilt with new specifications; a full press release will be sent out in the next few weeks.
For more information on the journey to the Middle East, check out Dai's blog site at www.daiyoshihara.com/blog