Le­banese petrol­heads drift to let off steam

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - LEBANON - By Mo­hammed Zaatari

SIDON, Le­banon: Le­banese petrol­heads Sun­day found a unique way to ex­press their anger at de­te­ri­o­rat­ing liv­ing con­di­tions by jump­ing into their mod­i­fied sports cars and burn­ing rub­ber.

Drift Ma­nia Le­banon or­ga­nized a drift­ing com­pe­ti­tion in the south­ern port town of Sidon called “Let Off Steam,” in which more than 20 driv­ers bat­tled it out for the top spot.

Their souped-up cars whizzed round the track at Sidon’s Funny World amuse­ment park to a cheer­ing crowd of fans of all ages.

“Ev­ery­one is protest­ing and ex­press­ing them­selves in their own way ... drift­ing is both a sport and an out­let,” the event’s or­ga­nizer Hisham Saad told The Daily Star.

He called on would-be drifters to safely prac­tice the sport on spe­cially des­ig­nated tracks, rather than on pub­lic roads, to re­duce the risk of deadly ac­ci­dents.

Cyn­thia Lyane, the only fe­male driver, said she first got in­volved in drift­ing more than four years ago, and has since gone on to win the Le­banese women’s cham­pi­onship.

“My fam­ily and hus­band re­ally en­cour­age me to par­tic­i­pate,” she said, en­cour­ag­ing all girls to give the sport a try.

“It helps me for­get my wor­ries.” An­other racer, who did not give his name, also said his drift­ing hobby was an es­cape from the dif­fi­cult eco­nomic con­di­tions that are af­fect­ing peo­ple across the coun­try.

“We drift cars so that we do not drown in our trou­bles,” he said.

A man par­tic­i­pates in a drift­ing com­pe­ti­tion in Sidon.

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