Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed crowns winner of Sharjah Drone Racing Championship

Sixteen pilots compete for top spot in two-day MultiGP event

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The first Sharjah Drone Racing Champions race took place over the weekend, culminating in a dramatic finale on Sunday at Al Majaz Amphitheatre.

Co-organised by MultiGP and overseen by Sharjah Government Media Bureau, the championship involved 16 drone pilots competing to win the grand title and a share of the $25,000 prize pot. Attended by Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and chairman of the Sharjah Media Council, the finale took place on Sunday evening.

Over two days, the professional drone racers competed in five matches, with the top four contestants across each advancing to the event's finale. Killian Rousseau from France earned his spot with 312 points, followed by Levi Johnson from the US with 254 points. MinChan Kim from Korea and Luke Bannister from Britain also secured spots with 222 and 193 points respectively.

In the sixth and final race of the weekend, it was Johnson, nicknamed in the industry as Leviathann, who was crowned champion, while Rousseau fell from the leaders' board.

Sharjah is the new capital of drone racing
Chris Thomas, MultiGP founder and chief executive

“My mind was so locked in on the race that I completely didn't think about how I was winning until after I crossed the finish line. It felt like a dream to try to think about how I actually won, and I still can't fathom it,” Johnson told The National after the competition.

“I think I came into this race with a great mindset, and continued to stay focused during my races, and that gave me an edge on the competition. One thing that helped lead to the win was going out on the field with a confident attitude and not having a moment of doubt that I wouldn't fly my best,” he added.

Claiming the runner-up spot was Kim, known as MCK FPV, while Bannister, known as Banni UK in the racing circuit, came third.

Speaking about the event, Chris Thomas, founder and chief executive of international drone racing league MultiGP, called Sharjah the “new capital of drone racing”.

The $25,000 prize pool was divided among the top three finalists, with Johnson taking $15,000, Kim winning $7,000 and Bannister receiving $3,000.

Throughout the competition, pilots navigated an LED course at the amphitheatre. Each match, comprising four laps, began at take-off blocks leading into an ascent towards the Sharjah skyline, with the competitors making turns and manoeuvring LED line pylons.

Among the distinguished attendees were Sheikh Sultan and Tariq Saeed Allay, director general of the Sharjah Government Media Bureau, who joined Thomas in announcing and crowning the winners following the competition.

Internationally, MultiGP includes more than 30,000 registered pilots and 500 active chapters.

Updated: April 22, 2024, 3:10 PM