Capturing The Desert Drift


Modified SUVs, high speed, spinning without control – in the middle of Arabian desert there’s a new form of drifting being formed, captured in a brilliant documentary series by Peter Garritano.

Unlike any other ‘traditional’ drifting events, there’s no space for winding circuit or the judges looking for speed and technical precision. Instead, drivers take turns showing off the power of their vehicles and counting points for various forms of showmanship: burning the furthest through a set of tires, spinning the most rotations, displaying the most apparent recklessness. This “freestyle display of machismo”, as Garritano describes it, is based on something called ‘Hajwalah’, in which thrill-seeking young men would reach high speeds on public roads and then spin seemingly out of control. Having visited the United Arab Emirates, Garritano has shot a dynamic and honest document about a movement that claims its place in the world of motorization.

Young men address a mechanical problem.
Mechanics at garage in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE modify SUVs for drifting
Two men cross a street marked by drifters' tires.
Champions Speed garage in Dubai where SUVs are tuned for drifting
A drifter takes his turn on the track in Umm Al Quwain
Mechanic, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
A car on the Bazooka team on a stretch of asphalt in Umm Al Quwain.
A member of the Execution group drifting in Umm Al Quwain, UAE.
Onlookers watch a drifter cornering on a public street in Dubai.
Rubber smoke fills the air at a contest in Umm Al Quwain, UAE.

All images © Peter Garritano

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