The Ministry of Regional Municipality and Water Resources (MRMWR) will soon set up dedicated arenas at six locations across the country to provide a safer venue for youths to perform drifting stunts.
Next month the ministry will sign agreements to begin work on the arenas in the wilayats of Shinas, Sohar, Ibri, Musannah, Adam and Thumrait.
In recent times, Oman has witnessed a number of incidents caused by drifting performed on public roads, some of which have lead to deaths of motorists and spectators.
Keeping this in mind, the ministry-hired Engineering Studies Office (ESO) has designed the arenas with highest safety standards, as per Royal Directives.
Abdul Rasool Shiran al Balushi, director of projects at MRMWR, said, “The central part of the arena, dedicated for drifting, will have its margins filled with sand, which will act as buffer in case a car skids towards the spectators. Further, the arena’s walls will be lined with tyres to cushion impact.”
Each of the six arenas will be 50,000 to 60,000sq m with 15,000sq m for drifting. The stands will have the capacity to accommodate 2,500 spectators. The design will allow room for expansions in future to include garages.
“The locations were chosen in coordination with the Ministry of Housing and sites away from residential areas were selected,” Balushi said.
“The main reason for setting these arenas is for the youth to practice and perform drifting stunts in a safe and organised manner.”
The construction is expected to take atleast one year, depending on the location. Cost of the project and names the companies involved will be announced after H E Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Mohammed al Shuhi, the Minister of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources formalises the agreements.
As it is the first-of-its-kind project in the sultanate, a committee headed by ROP officials has been formed in coordination with the Ministry of Transport and Communication, the Ministry of Housing and Muscat Municipality to oversee the project’s progress.
Col Dr Mohammed bin Awadh al Rawas, the director general of traffic at ROP, said, “MRMWR procedures are now in the final stages with regards to construction of the arenas.”
Commenting on accidents caused by drifting stunts, Dr Wahid al Kharusi, president of the Road Safety Association, said, “Performing drifting and other stunts like wheeling are risky and prone to accidents, which not only affects the spectators, but also the passengers in the car.
“Thus the youth should perform them in a controlled environment. For instance in Formula 1 races, drivers drive at very high speeds, but they have special gear and track, where the safety is 100 per cent. That is why even in the eventuality of crashes, fatal injuries are minimal.
“Now that the preparations are on, we will soon have a track to perform,” he added.
One of the recent drifting accidents occurred on the second day of Eid al Adha in Suwaiq, which resulted in the death of one person and injured nine others.