Cars In Doha Exclusive Interview With Abdo Feghali

Q1- Can you tell us more about yourself and how did you start your career? Was it always an ambition from a young age?

Firstly, thank you for coming. I am very glad to be back in Doha organising the Red bull Car park drift. As you all know the first ever international CPD we did outside Lebanon was in Qatar back in 2010 but unfortunately due to some circumstances we could not organise the event in Qatar. Thankfully, we are back here with the support of QMMF and FIA. I was born in a family directly related to motor sport. My father used to race a couple of times when I was 3 years old. Underneath our house he had a workshop to tune racing cars such as the BMW 2002 and some other cars. So as you can see it was in the blood since I was a small kid.We all know that this sport is very expensive, especially back then was no drifting. There was only rally and racing which costs a lot of money. I knew I wanted something to do with rallying but I had to wait until my first ever event to know whether I was serious or not. Thankfully, I had the chance to do my first rally in 1998 when I was 19 years old. I came 3rd in that rally and this proved to me that I was serious and was here for this business.

Q2- Did your family support and help you on what you have achieved?

My brother Roger is 4 years older than me, so he started before me. Everyone thought because he started racing that I would want to get into this field. Roger was always telling people that he wanted to be a World Champion one day but I wasn’t sure. I kept it to myself until I was 100% clear that I was going to race. When Roger started the second year he won the Championship and the year after I decided I wanted to participate. When they saw me achieving the 3rd position in the first rally, they knew that I was serious.

Q3- You’ve competed in a lot of cars, including Mitsubishi, Chevrolet Subaru, BMW and Ford. Which was your favorite car that you have done drifting or rally with and why?

As you know there are many cars I have used during my time. As you know I am not just a rally driver or just a racer – I am everything! I am really happy that I can drift and I can race and I can do all that, that’s the thing I love. For every event there are different cars for me to use. you cannot use a rally car for a drifting event or vice versa. For the rally driving, I can tell so far that the Ford Fiesta that I drove in Lebanon back in June 2015 is the best car I have ever driven.

For drifting, I have been using 6 to 7 different cars and I love them all. I am the type of driver who can get used to any car that is given to me. I am really happy with the 2015 Ford Mustang I drove in the first CPD this year in Abu Dhabi. The suspension of that car, the weight balance and the result you get from this V8 engine is just amazing.

Q4- What type of car do you drive privately on a daily basis?

Thank goodness, and again I will say to ‘thanks God’ in the fact that I may not have 5 houses for example but I can proudly tell you that I have 15 cars that I can drive me and my family around. I am really proud to have this underneath my house in the garage and I am happy having all these cars. They are not however supercars – YET anyway! But it makes me happy when I go to the garage with my kid and we look at the cars and decide which car we want to drive that day. I feel very lucky to have all this cars.

Q5- How do you drive cars so fast through such twisted roads? Do you test drive a few times and go through the maps and memorize all the twists and turns and ups and downs?

As you know in rallies especially on the twisted mountain roads we have in Lebanon you always need to have a navigator person sitting beside you. We will drive slowly on the road the first time at about 80 KM P/H. We have a special device with us where we write notes down. That’s why I will have assistant person beside me to tell me everything on what we need to do in the rally race event.

Q6- What is your favourite road surface to do drifting?

Definitely it has to be tarmac. In Lebanon during the winter time we have a lot of snow and ice. Drifting on ice is a real challenge. In 2007 I had the chance to go to Sweden to drive on frozen lakes. It was really nice but still the smoke you can create from drifting on tarmac, the sound of the tyres is truly amazing.

Q7- What advice would you give to an older person with lots of interest in rallying and drifting but doesn’t know how to get into the sport?

First of all it’s too late!! Just kidding [he laughs]. Normally I get lots of comments and questions on my social media pages about people asking me about drifting. They tell me “Abdo I have the talent and I feel I can”. Let me tell you, nothing is easy in life, they need to prove to themselves first.

Q8- What do you say to anyone who tells you that racing isn’t a physical sport?

Come and test it! Come and touch my muscles [he smiles], I never go to the gym yet I eat a lot! I burn a lot of calories inside the car. I am always moving my hand, my head, looking around – everything is working and moving from your eyes to your brain, to your hand your legs on the clutch. It isn’t easy!

Q9- What is the most tense moment you’ve had while racing?

Accidents! Sometimes we make mistakes. For me I will just forget about the mistakes and the best day will continue as normal. This is the biggest advice I will give to everyone – you have to make mistakes in life and decide to forget about it and concentrate on the next challenge.

Q10- What is your greatest achievement in life?

 Picture Talk!

Q11- Would you allow your children to take up drifting in the future?

Definitely I do not force them. My child, Christopher who is 6 years old, he is already karting. He has been karting for two years now and I am really proud of what he is doing. I don’t want Christopher to enter this field because of his father. It will be my dream to help him achieve what he wants in life.

Q12- We know you have broken the Guinness book of world records in 2013 with a 11,180 meters in the Chevrolet Camaro SS are you looking again to break your own record with a new challenge?

I always look for a new challenges – the best moment in my Motor sport career was achieving the new World Record for the Guinness Book of World Records with the longest drift.

Q13- We have seen many funny videos of passengers in the car drifting with you, do you have any memorable passengers?

The idea of this program we are running on MBC Action came from Red bull car park drifting, with all the videos we post before on YouTube showing the passengers getting scared with drifting,

To be honest I am always happy to have celebrities sitting next to me. Some of them have been drifting before but they still get scared when they are with me even knowing we are just on a closing track, but it is the obstacles that make it fun and their facial expressions!

Q14- What advice do you have for The Cars In Doha members who are interested in doing or taking up Drifting?

Our plan is to help people interested in drifting move from the roads to a safe environment and to try to explore their skills. We want to try to support them and give them the best advice. We are trying to make Champions out of amateurs since 2008, and we are doing the same in Qatar. I know some people might say ‘oh I have a chance but no car’, you need to work on it you need to start with something, We have created many drifters’ now and they are actually making money out of this. I wish the best for everyone and keep safe,

Thanks Cars In Doha

From Right side, Cars In Doha Director “Mohamad Wehbi” & “Abdo Feghali”.

 


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