The Road To Abu Dhabi Part 3: Disappointment in the Desert
By Mike Kojima
After an epic hammerfest to convert Dai Yoshihara’s Time Attack car into a drift car, we ended our last installment with the car being loaded onto a container and shipped to Abo Dhabi in the nick of time. Now follow the team as they get to Abu Dhabi and attempt to compete in a rushed together totally unproven and untested car. What happens next? Read on!
Ed Note- We had planned to send Jeff to get better photography but late scheduling prevented us from being able to book for Jeff, so I had to hastily take pics between doing other things. I am also no photographer. I also didn’t have room to pack photo gear so I only had one lens, etc, hence our photo quality is very poor. Sorry about that. Also if this stuff seems like a bunch of bad vacation pics, well it partially was.
|We arrived at LAX and immediately ran into other Formula D people in line for our Emirates Airlines flight. Here is Josh Herron and Chris Forsberg. Josh is one of the best videographers around and we are big fans. His work has graced the pages of MotoIQ many times.|
|Ken Gushi is more enthusiastic about our long flight than we were.|
|The Boeing 777 that would be our home for the next 15.5 hours. I was not looking forward to this one bit since I have trouble sleeping on planes and get bored super easy.|
|Emirate’s economy class is a good as some airline’s business class. We had this excellent video entertainment system with an endless assortment of movies, music and video games. The leg room was also decent. This stuff makes the flight more bearable for guys like me who can’t sleep well on planes. I watched about 7 movies on the way there. There is also power outlets for your laptop. Only Virgin is better. I wish there was in flight Internet access like Virgin has.|
|Landing in Dubai, Josh and JRod (the voice of Formula D) look a little bleary. This was a long tough flight longer than Australia even. The route took us over the North Pole, the Soviet Union, Northern Europe, Turkey then finally the Middle East.|
|Costa thought this guy was here for him, no, he had to ride in the bus with the rest of us.|
|Costa coffee houses are about as common as Starbucks in Dubai. Costa wishes he owned the franchise.|
|The Formula D circus waits to be picked up. We traveled in a pack of 50 drivers and support personnel. Amazingly taking photos in the airport is illegal and we got in trouble a few times. When one of our party was detained for a short period, we put away our cameras quickly. They are big on security in the middle east. There are many layers of security everywhere you go, probably because the middle east is the center of terrorism. Unfortunately most security people are poorly trained and incompetent so I am not sure how effective it all is.|
|The airport at Dubai was huge with ultra modern architecture. Here is a shot secretly taken lest one of the gazillion security guards sees us.|
|We cram in our bus and ride one hour to Abu Dhabi and the Yas Marina Formula One circuit. Our hotel is right across the street from the track.|