INTERVIEW | At 11 180 metres, Abdo Feghali holds the record for the world's longest drift

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Abdo Feghali is seen during the Minitown video shoot in Durban, South Africa on April 11, 2021
Abdo Feghali is seen during the Minitown video shoot in Durban, South Africa on April 11, 2021
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Abdo began his racing career in 1998.

11 180m of continuous drifting was verified by the Guinness World Records team.

He is an active player in the Red Bull Car Drift Park.

For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24.

Drifting has become one of the most popular forms of motorsport, known for its smoke-filled tyre screeching action as drivers try to maintain perfect angles and execution around a chicane.

Lebanese driver and drift kingpin Abdo 'Dado' Feghali has been in racing circles for more than 20 years and also holds the record for the world's longest continuous drift sequence of 11.18km - verified by the Guinness World Records team.

Abdo began his racing career in 1998, taking part in various modes of motorsport like rally and hillclimb - eventually making a household name for himself in drifting.

Abdo Feghali is seen during the Minitown video sho
Abdo Feghali is seen during the Minitown video shoot in Durban, South Africa on April 13, 2021

'Dado' the drifter

He starred in the drift film titled 'Never Stop Playing' that was shot in Durban, where 'Dado' demonstrates his driving prowess, at some of the most iconic landmarks in the port city. Earlier this year, he also hosted the Red Bull Car Park Drift in the same city, which saw Jim McFarlane take the top prize.

READ | Did you know these fast new hot hatches come with 'Drift' mode? - is it even necessary?

Speaking from his home in Lebanon and facilitated by Red Bull, Wheels24 picked his brain about the impressive feat.

Wheels24: Is there a particular reason or motivation how or why you got into racing?

Abdo Feghali: Yes. I consider myself lucky because I was born into a family strongly related to cars and motorsport. My father used to be a racer (in the 1980s) when I was three-years-old. He had a workshop, and I got to see racing cars on a daily basis. I've had people to guide and put me in the right place. We came third overall in our first rally that we've ever done, and it was completely amazing.

W24: How did the nickname Dado come about?

AF: (laughs) That was the name of my grandfather. He passed away two years before I was born. In the family at the time, no one called their son Abdo. My father decided that I should get that name. My mother told me that she hated the name because it was not something new. I have no clue why she decided to call me Dado - there is no relation between the two at all. I was born with both names, and I cannot change that, unfortunately.

W24: What made you decide on the Nissan 350Z as a drift car?

AF: I get the asked the question a lot on social media about the best drifting car. The looks, dimensions and centre of gravity of the Nissan 350 or 370 - I love it, honestly. But unfortunately, it doesn't come with a V8 engine - only a V6 - so it needs to be upgraded either with a different engine, turbocharger or supercharger. The Red Bull team in South Africa managed to get me the Nissan because I am used to the car, but as you may know, I don't drive right-hand-drive but left-hand-drive.

W24: How did the record for the world's longest drift come about?

AF: Thankfully, motorsport is the number one sport everywhere with live TV coverage in our region. People knew me in Lebanon, and I started organising drift events all over the Middle East and North Africa. At that time, there was Facebook and social media with good awareness everywhere. People kept asking me, after winning in rallying and Hillclimb, what's next? Because my name was more related to drifting, that is what I was doing most of the time. At a conference in Qatar in front of many media, they asked me what was next, and without thinking, I said I am going for the record of the world's longest drift. I turned to my friend (William) and told him that we don't even know the record for the world's longest drift. We googled it and found that a Chinese guy drifted a distance of 5.8km of continuous drift.

W24: Did you run into any problems en route to the world record run?

AF: One of the biggest problems we faced was the tyres because it will never last that long, and I wanted to do it on a dry surface. We met an engineer from Guadaloo. He had something called Easydrift - it is a material made of plastic that is put over the tyre allowing the car to drift until the material melts and then uses the normal tyre thereafter. One day during testing, we managed to do 22km, which was double the distance. The record only allowed us three attempts - we lost the first attempt due to a problem with the car. On the second attempt, I said, let's go and get it and did 11.18km, so I was happy, and we were just celebrating.

W24: Do you have any advice or motivation for those who want to get into the sport?

AF: The first thing is to get a car with rear-wheel drive and a functioning handbrake. Many people think that you need to have a huge 1 000hp engine and semi-slick tyres. You can even practice in your backyard with cones and do donuts. In everything you do in life, you have to believe in yourself. When you believe in yourself, you are capable of what you are doing plus - practice makes perfect. Practice a lot. You do not need to blame the car. As a rally and racing driver, I have lost many races in my life, and I lost them because (honestly) I didn't have the best car. But I never let it cross my mind. That is how I won 24 national and international championships. Learn how to be one with your car and make sure you are controlling the car and that it is not controlling you.

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