The first nine years of Formula Drift managed to slate zero calls overturned and actions changed by the judges but at Round 6 in Texas we saw two calls overturned in the same night. With six protests levied over the weekend two were upheld resulting in a changed call forcing Odi Bakchis vs. Robbie Nishida into a One More Time. Then it resulted in a complete overturn of the run Patrick Mordaunt vs. Vaughn Gittin Jr. Great 8 battle.
While the drivers involved in the Odi Bakchis vs. Robbie Nishida battle have been way less vocal about the call for a OMT after Robbie got a win Pat and Vaughn have both spoken up about their call. Vaughn’s feelings can be summed up here in this Press Conference video while Pat took to Facebook to defend his position.
Patrick released this right after the race:
I know we didn’t have the fastest entry speeds or the closest tandem matches, but I did the best to my abilities and conditions. Obviously nobody wants to win via protest or technicalities, but judging and enforcing these calls is not my department. I would have loved to run JR in a OMT instead of just having the call overturned and I’m sure the fans would have loved it too, but that’s not what happened. For the people who believe I was sandbagging or anything like that, you need to understand the SC430 is a very hard car to drive for me and I am still getting acclimated to its characteristics. I was not able to reach a lot of the high entry speeds due to wheelspin on the straightaway, even with our solid Yokohama Tires with tons of grip and traction. A twin turbo V8 has a great amount of torque on the low end and boost on the top end which makes getting out of the box extremely difficult. As the weekend went on, I learned how to launch faster and was able to start seeing higher entry speeds in tandem. I was learning on the fly, which is much of what you saw over the course of the competition. We are still a young team and are working out the kinks, but for anyone to say we shouldn’t have been on track or that I was playing games is saddening and disrespectful.
With both drivers comments it leaves quite a ton in the middle “grey area” for the judges to make a call. At the end of the day they called Vaughn Gittin Jr. a winner then overturned it with a protest (one of six this weekend) in total. So 2 protests resulted in overturned calls and four protests were just a money losing gamble. Make sure to vote above about what you think the right call is. Should the judges stand by their calls and reward bonus points to drivers wrongfully lost? Should judges just flip and flop on calls once things are missed on a first judging turn? It is a quite a hard and paramount decision to make for the series as it moves forward into the 11th season.