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Round three of the Middle East Drift Championship saw it descend on Al Wasal Sports Club which featured the stunning backdrop of the Dubai skyline. A temporary track was laid out, a technical but high speed layout which meant that drivers had to put it all on the line. It wasn't long until the configuration took its first unsuspecting victim.

The grid saw a strong turnout, with drivers traveling from Qatar, Kuwait and Oman to battle some of the UAE’s finest. We also saw the return of the Monster athlete Dmitriy Illyuk who flew in from the Ukraine in search of a podium finish, after missing out in the previous two rounds.

His monster team mates Khalifa Sultan Al Nayan, who had found his way onto the podium in the previous two events and Dany Neville, who finished fourth in both rounds, were always going to be strong contenders.

Mohammed Al Khaiat who also found himself on the podium in the previous two rounds, had been facing an uphill battle all week. After his big accident in the Final in Qatar the previous weekend, he had to fly to Riga to find parts for his M2. He couldn’t source everything needed for the repair and choose to battle with damaged rear suspension. Meaning he would never be at 100%.

Khalifa was one of the drivers who enjoyed the technical layout as he qualified on pole. Dany was next, locking out a one two for the Lunatics by Nature team.
X-Unit’s Mohammed Al Mansoori put in a solid display to take third in his S13. Dmitriy who left some paint on the wall at the last clipping point qualified in fourth.
As the battles began there were a few surprise early exits - one being Ali Makhseed. It hasn't been a good season for the Kuwaiti and he was suffering from overheating problems. He nailed his lead run against Doruk Engin but in his chase run his head gasket gave up ending his night early. He will be able to take some positives from the event though as he seems to be getting on top on his new 86 after he chose to retired his Supra earlier on in the season.
Mesyar Abushaibah was another surprise early victim. We expected to see his S14 make it further than the top 16 especially after his strong start to the season. But he fell to Abdullah Al Maamari early on.
The best battle of the top 16 was between Omani Ali Al Balushi and Abdullah Al Jadi. They were made to go one more time as the judges could not make a clear call after their first run. The second run was almost just as close, though Al Balushi did just enough in his lead run to progress into the next round with his S13 Silvia.
He met Khalifa in the top 8 who got a bye after qualifying in first. Khalifa put in a strong lead run, and a near perfect chase run until the final clipping point. Running the wall can have its problems and the margin for error is very small. Khalifa fell to the fate of these margins as his rear left wheel clipped the concrete barrier leaving terminal damage to his S14. Meaning he could no longer compete.
Dmitriy made it through to the top 4 after an epic battle with Mohammed Al Khaiat. One more time was called twice with little to separate the pair. But in the final round Dmitriy pinned himslef Al Khaiat’s door on his chase run showing the most aggressive driving of the evening which saw him go into the top 4.
Dany followed Dmitriy into the top four defeating Al Maamari. Dany's lead run was flawless showing he had no issues finding all the clipping points whilst getting good proximity.
Al Mansoori had an easy path into the top four after Engin pulled out with a technical problem in his chase run.
Dmitriy took on Al Balushi in the first of the runs for top four. By now Dmitriy was well within his stride, thriving on this technical layout. But Al Balushi put in his best display of the night. One more time was called but the judges and on the second run he was unable too match Dmitriy’s aggression in the chase run putting the Ukrainian in the Final.
Dany put in yet another flawless lead run putting all the pressure on Al Mansoori. Al Mansoori couldn't quite hook up his lead running, meaning that Dany would go onto to meet his fellow Monster Athlete in the Final.

In a Final that saw the judges call one more time after the first run, a battle that we thought Dany had done just enough. But unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for Dany and the judges sent them out again.

Second time around it was Dmitriy's aggression that saw him glued to Dany's door throughout his chase. When the tables were changed Dmitriy was able to pull out a small gap one which Dany was unable to recover.

The battle for third was between the S13s. Al Mansoori was just able to edge it, a great result for all of his hard work and something for him and his X-Unit team to build on.
So the win went to Dmitriy his first after participating in all three rounds. His aggressive chasing and his inch perfect wall runs paid off. Still, Dany will be more than happy with his first ever podium at a pro event (one that was long overdue). And it came on what he would call home soil, and we know this will be the first of many.

At the podium he was more than delighted, and he was caught telling Khalifa you are only as good as your last performance. There is always plenty of banter when it comes to the Lunatics by Nature crew, even when they are missing two key members of their team.

With the Championship tables being ever so tight, any one of five drivers could still win it. The will return after the summer break.