From the Super Mario Wiki
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Drifting (also referred to as Power Sliding) is a move in the Mario Kart series, allowing the kart to keep speed around corners, at a cost of a bit of handling. Beginning with Mario Kart 64, it is possible to use both directions of the D-Pad (left and right) simultaneously while in a drift to cause the kart to get a short, but helpful Mini-Turbo when the drift is ended. In most Mario Kart games, excluding Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, the player had to hop before being able to drift. Beginning with Mario Kart Wii, drifting had been simplified by becoming time-based rather than wiggling the control pad multiple times.
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