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Abdo Feghali and his Legendary Career in The World of Motor Sport.

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Abdo Feghali and his Legendary Career in The World of Motor Sport.

In the world of motorsports, Lebanon has been home to many rising stars who went on to become champions in their craft, but one particular Lebanese racer who exceeded all odds and achievements is Abdo Feghali.
Abdo Feghali was born in a family that was directly related to motorsports. His father used to be a racer
himself in the early 80s in Lebanon. In fact, aside from being a racer, Feghali’s father owned a workshop down their house where he used to upgrade and tune race cars and transform them into championship cars. When Abdo was young he couldn’t help but stare at his favorite car which was a black BMW customized with racing stripes and was always parked outside of his
father’s garage. “The first thing I used to see in the mornings and when I came back from school was that BMW and the only thing, I dreamt about was being behind the wheels of that car one day, those were the early signs of me becoming a race car driver in the future” Feghali said.
Feghali’s dream of becoming a race car driver was never an easy goal to accomplish considering the fact
that motorsport is the most expensive sport in the world especially in a small country like Lebanon where
sponsors were also quite difficult to find back in the day.
“I did struggle in my early days in racing when I was trying to make a name for myself, but luckily with my
early achievements I was able to acquire strong connections with people who helped me reach the top,”
Feghali said. One of Feghali’s most important connections who helped him discover his inner talents was Jean-Pierre Nasrallah who saw young Feghali’s skills early on when Abdo was a co-driver in Nasrallaj’s team. But in 1998, Nasrallah created a team with Gandour being their main sponsor with the aim of finding a new talent to lead the team, little did he know that feghali was going to be that young talent who was going to help the team win many competitions. “My first ever rally was in 1998 when I came 3rd overall, this proved that we have the talent and we only needed to keep pushing and find more sponsors. Luckily in 2001 Red Bull came to our market in the Middle East region and Lebanon was one of the first countries they entered and I was one of the talents that they sponsored.” Feghali said. For a Lebanese athlete to become part of a company as big as Red Bull is seen as a huge milestone, one that helped Feghali transform his career into levels he only dreamed of reaching in order to help change the way we look at racing not just in Lebanon but all over the world. One special factor which makes Abdo Feghali stand out from other racers is his ability in drifting which is seen as an art form in racing. “Since I’m a rally driver, my driving style was always going sideways on the tight and slippery corners, especially in Lebanon where all our roads demand strong car control. So, we needed to use the hand brake just to lock the rear wheels to exit as fast as possible, this made the car drift and fans began to love my driving style.” Feghali said.
During his races, Feghali began to realize that even though people did enjoy rally races, they were more
entertained with the phenomenon of drifting which is where Feghali began to have talks with Red Bull in
order to discover a way to host drifting events to entertain the crowd. “Eventually Red Bull and I finally
came up with the idea of drifting in car parks since we don’t have proper tracks in Lebanon. The first event was in 2008 outside of city center in Dora and that’s how we got the blessing of Red Bull regional office and international which lead us to host these events all over the world.” Feghali mentioned.
One beautiful thing about the Red Bull sponsor in Lebanon is that anybody who feels like they have a special talent can participate in the red bull car park drift and invest a small amount of money for certain
modifications and tuning and can become a champion.
Abdo Feghali’s constant achievements and his ability to drift eventually caught the eye of the Guinness book of world records which Feghali currently still holds the record of the world’s longest drift.
“After we started the Red Bull Car Park drift and with the success of the TV show Driven on MBC action, I
gathered enough motivation to break the world’s longest drift record, which at the time the record was held by a Chinese racer around 5.5 km. My team and I were consistent and we were ready to take on the challenge.” Feghali said.
For this event, Feghali invested around $70,000 of his own money which shows how passionate he is
about his own craft. The biggest obstacle Feghali and his team faced during their preparation were how to prevent the tires from overheating. Eventually, Feghali, his brother alongside their mechanics came
up with a genius way to keep the tires alive during the competition.
“In my first attempt, the car suffered from an overheating issue and since Guinness only allows you
to have 3 attempts, time wasn’t on my side, but I was able to overcome adversity at that moment and have another try. Eventually, I was able to break the record and reach around 21 km.” Feghali said.
His success in breaking the world’s longest drift record attracted new sponsors including Chevrolet.
From that moment on, Feghalis life changed and it allowed him to grasp further opportunities that were
going to lay the cornerstone of his legendary status as a motorsport icon.
Feghali’s mission doesn’t end there, His main mission is to help bring more awareness towards
motorsport in Lebanon, especially after the economic and political meltdown in Lebanon which damaged
all kinds of sports in the country.
“My brother and I have been trying to seek help and awareness for the past 25 years. In 2002 we
organized the junior world rally championship to discover new talents, so I remember I used to spend
all my days at the sports minister’s office in Beirut trying to get some support, especially in terms of
Unfortunately, they couldn’t support Feghali financially. This shows how in Lebanon we have lost
this passion in this sport and even though Feghali continues to use his experience and connections to
raise awareness for racing in Lebanon, our state has bigger issues that it aims to overcome.
“It’s sad because in Lebanese motor sport our talents are at a world rank level, since for many years, we
have had world champions in rally racing. That is why currently I’m doing my best in investing all of
my energy and time to train my young son Christopher who has won international karting races
in order for him to become the first Lebanese F1 driver.” Feghali said.
Due to the financial and political obstacles in Lebanon, it’s quite difficult for Lebanese talents to test their skills and their abilities on track hoping to make a career out of their passion, but Feghali’s message is to keep believing in oneself and never give up.
I constantly receive message son social media of people asking me how they can rise to the top in motorsport. The answer is in our country it’s very difficult to find a budget in this sport which is why, one should dig in and find a way because this isn’t like football or basketball where sponsors will come and find you.” Feghali said. However, one good thing about Lebanon is that if your good at anything you can get recognized fast and help build your special media to get the right sponsors to help boost your career.

Jack Jizmejian

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