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Meet the First Female Drift Racer in the Middle East

I met Noor Daoud at a high school reunion dinner in Dubai, although we attended at different times. It was an eclectic group as usual, and while Daoud stuck out in the crowd, it was only later on the evening after we exchanged details and Instagram accounts that I realized what she was all about. Speed!  The web definition of drifting is a driving technique: deliberate oversteering, losing traction in the rear or all tire wheels, maintaining control and driving the car through the entirety of a corner. But in her own words, drifting is simply “controlled chaos”.

Photo: Sueraya Shaheen

So I went to photograph Daoud in what sounded like the perfect place for her to be living: Sports City, which is situated near Motor City — an ideal location for a champion drifter.

During the shoot we talked about her passion and how it came to be, from the very beginning:

The most important thing was that I fell in love with cars as a little girl. I had a collection of cars, toy cars, all I liked doing was playing with them since I was a child. I then started to do all sorts of sports, growing up, tennis, swimming, boxing, ice hockey. Although I enjoyed them all, I only really connected with motorsports… I knew that the very first time I tried it!

Where were you?

It was in 2009 in Ramallah that I started — in the streets, we don’t have tracks, so I was training myself in the streets. It was one Thursday night, (the races are always on Fridays), the Head of the Federation of Motor Sports was there observing everyone. When we met, he asked me to come race with them and join them for ‘Time Attack’. This is racing against the clock, in very small spaces in a parking lot. I did, I enjoyed it but it wasn’t what I wanted to do- I was looking for something more extreme …more powerful, more alive! 

Photo: Sueraya Shaheen

Would that be, what you do now? Drifting?

Yes, and I really fell in love with that.

I had to train myself again back in the streets. I used an old car, my mother’s car, who by the way, was and is my biggest support and helped make me who I am, I have to say that!  It was an old BMW, her first car. In Palestine, we only had Time Attack, but through social media accounts and images, my followers started to grow and grow and I had a lot of attention

It’s a sign of the times- with the increasing momentum Daoud was getting through social media as she continued to progress on her own, she got invited to a drift event in Budapest and that’s where things took off for her.

When I came back, I decided to have a car made, a real drift professional car fitted out in Jordan, and I traveled around the Middle East racing for a long time. I needed to take it to another level though, as I kept competing and meeting challenges, so I sold it and had another new one made with these specs, BMW E46 M50 900 HP.

What brought you to Dubai?

Just that. I was competing but there wasn’t that much happening in Motor Sports in Palestine, and I was invited to a big event in the Middle East, The Red Bull Car Park Drift, live on MBC Action, my first real competition, and things got serious. I didn’t want to lose what I had, so I moved to Dubai. I’m sponsored by the Pro Drift Academy, it’s a drifting school, and we teach and train people from all over the world. I get invited to compete more and more, and I never want to stop!

What does it really feel like, you light up when you are talking about this passion of yours, that you yourself developed and continue to get better at.

My car is my soulmate, my happiness, and where I find myself most free. It’s hard to explain because when I’m in my car, I’m in a completely different world. I put on my helmet, get in, shut the door, and look straight ahead, there’s nothing around me …seriously I feel like I’m on another planet.

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