A Drift in Abu Dhabi

By Redmayne, Nick | The Middle East, January 2014 | Go to article overview

A Drift in Abu Dhabi


Redmayne, Nick, The Middle East


"If you have a car with 450 horsepower and you take me for a drive, it's great. But then I'll want something that beats you, maybe 500 or 600 horsepower," laughs professional driver, Abbas Al Alawi. "Here, petrol is cheap that's for sure," he says "and the standard of living is high enough that we have money to spend. At Yas Marina Circuit we provide the venue, the instruction and the back up. Drivers can learn and practice their skills in the proper place, on the track not on the street."

Recent police clampdowns have sought to curb the worst excesses of wanabee UAE stunt drivers and street racers, too often reckless pursuits ending young lives in tragedy. Whether the need for speed provides diversion from occasional claustrophobia brought on by a gilded, air-conditioned cage of modern Gulf life or it's simply a more exciting and less complicated option than marriage is unclear. Young men and fast cars is not a combination unique to UAE, but Gulf Arab youth does seem to display particular affinity with car culture. That the latest instalment of the testosterone-laced car candy franchise, The Fast and the Furious, is to be filmed in Abu Dhabi should come as no surprise, although the untimely death of one of its leading actors, Paul Walker, on 30 November has cast some doubt over just when filming will resume.

At the end of the 1970s and early 1980s the UAE had no racetracks and certainly no Formula One circuits, the only popular focus for organised motorsport was the sand spattered Middle East Rally. "I have loved cars since my childhood," says Abbas. "I enjoyed PlayStation games like Gran Turismo too and when I got my licence I was driving, and racing illegally, some of the same cars on the road. One of the most popular places for high-speed modified cars was the Dubai Al Ain Road. There were lots of accidents and sorry to say several of my friends were killed."

I ask whether facilities offered at Yas have made UAE's public roads safer. "Yes, big time," is Abbas's unequivocal answer. "Last year there were fewer accidents and maybe we are one of the reasons. Our drag racing nights where people bring their own cars are very popular, maybe 40 to 50 cars turn up every weekend. They pay 300 Dirhams and have as many runs as they want. It encourages them to come back and see if their modifications make for faster times. Yes, they pay, but it's all about safety. The marshals and medical teams are here. At least if anything bad happens we're prepared."

However, as Abbas admits, there are those who continue to race on the road. "Unfortunately some guys practice here and still race illegally and we want to have a stronger co-operation with the police to stop this. It used to be that fines were not very high but three years ago penalties increased and also they're now related to speed. Over 200kmph and they impound the car. Of course there are drivers who don't care."

We leave the air-conditioned calm of a trackside cabin and emerge into dazzling light and the brain-frying heat of an Abu Dhabi day. At the edge of the Vehicle Dynamic Test Area an ambulance and crew waits on standby. Two low-slung Toyota GT86s sporting day-glo colours and Yas Circuit logos are angle parked in anticipation. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

A Drift in Abu Dhabi
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.