Some rough runs and a poor start for most drivers wrapped up with some fantastic second runs at the Japanese circuit Okayama! The end of qualifying was enough to get me pretty excited for Top 16 tomorrow! Sadly some big name drivers will be sent home for the competition. This is the qualifying results:
1. Tsutomu Fujio – 93
2. Masashi Yokoi – 93
3. Akira Hirajima – 90
4. Masao Suenaga – 89
5. Daigo Saito – 88
6. Fredric Aasbo – 86
7. Manabu Fujinaka – 84
8. Kuniaki Takahashi – 83
9. Tetsuya Hibino – 83
10. Yoshiaki Waki – 83
11. Tomokazu Hirota – 80
12. Yokio Matsui – 79
13. Charles Ng – 79
14. Andrew Gray – 79
15. S Chanatpon Kedrpiam – 76
16. Junji Yamamoto – 76
The particular V8 powered S15 Silvia is a build from Team Orange. The event is Formula Drift Okayama this weekend for a second version of Formula Drift Japan. This particular loan/car swap for the weekend has caught my eye since Kumakubo has been rumored to be heading stateside for 2015 Formula Drift already. Compound that with the fact that Charles Ng, with a car in Japan, is most likely guaranteed to compete in the Formula Drift World Series next year. Charles has his Infiniti G37 for the USA and has a Silvia already in China he uses for CDC. Does this mean Kumakubo is not coming to Formula Drift or has he given up on the V8 swapped Silvia for practical use? It definitely has us scratching our head over here at the office.
Due to a rule change in Formula Drift this season the series no longer has a battle for third place to determine the last spot on the podium. In fact, third and fourth place now both get 64 points for the weekend and one driver is guaranteed a podium once he wins his Great 8 battle. Here are the seven battles you missed this year due to the rule change:
Long Beach- Justin Pawlak vs. Michael Essa
Atlanta- Chris Forsberg vs. Robbie Nishida
Miami- Kenneth Moen vs. Matt Field
New Jersey- Odi Bakchis vs. Charles Ng
Seattle- Chris Forsberg vs. Fredric Aasbo
Texas- Chris Forsberg vs. Forrest Wang
Irwindale- Chris Forsberg vs. Forrest Wang
All seven rounds of Formula Drift are in the books for 2014. Chris Forsberg ends up the 2014 champion but a margin of just 11 points which came down to the very last tandem battle of 2014. Daigo Saito finally had a motor hold together and was able to make a huge jump in the championship points as well. All Top 32 drivers are given a Pro license for next year while 33 and beyond are relegated into Pro 2. Here is how they finished:
1. Chris Forsberg
2. Fredric Aasbo
3. Vaughn Gittin Jr.
4. Odi Bakchis
5. Forrest Wang
6. Kenneth Moen
7. Darren McNamara
8. Dean Kearney
9. Justin Pawlak
10. Conrad Grunewald
11. Robbie Nishida
12. Ryan Tuerck
13. Ken Gushi
14. Daigo Saito
15. Matt Field
16. Michael Essa
Here is a great video piece from Charles Ng at Formula Drift Texas. He chats about his inspirational upbringing in Hong Kong and how he only use to watch racing on TV due to the lack of racetracks at home. All the while he is making it happen now in Formula Drift!
Jeremy Glover, our main man in Canada, went out to Autodromo St. Eustache to cover Formula Drift Canada. The Americans swept the podium north of the border and Jeremy captured some awesome content as Daigo Saito took home the win. Look through all the images below.
Check out the Gallery: http://www.wreckedmagazine.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=430
The stage is set for a big Formula Drift Canada debut weekend.
Formula Drift Team
Tommy Boisvert Bellemart
Check out an inside look into the journey of Charles Ng in his Infiniti G37 from Formula Drift Round 5 at Evergreen Speedway outside Seattle. The video features some awesome camera angles and quality slow motion as the video walks you through Charles Ng having a great weekend until losing to Dean Kearney.
10. All the Rookies Dropped the Ball
Up until this weekend the ROTY race has been beyond entertaining but no rookie qualified for the big show at Wall. This track is challenging and difficult but ROTY leader Geoff Stoneback should be the happiest of everyone when it came to nobody qualifying. He barely missed the cut off which gave all the other drives a huge opportunity to gain on the Rookie race but they all failed to qualify as well. Even European pro Juha Rintanen made his career debut this weekend form Europe crashed on his second practice lap and then couldn’t put it together for qualifying. Alec Hohnadell had a huge chance to capitalize on the Rookie championship but ran into car issues after crashing into the wall early on and his car didn’t seem 100% for his qualifying runs. It looks like this battle will move on to Seattle being very very close still.
9. Tyler Wolfson Reminded Us How UnForgiving This Track Can Be
This qualifying round crash with Tyler Wolfson was borderline unwatchable. His FD Mazda Rx-7 enters the track and according to him a knuckle broke on the car and just steered him right into the bank wall. We have video of the incident on our Instagram if you can stomach it (VIDEO HERE). At Long Beach I touched on how incredible the HANS device was and I think this is another incident we can thank for this amazing safety feature. Tyler’s car literally came to an abrupt stop from decent speed on entry. Thankfully he walked away from this tragic event.
So a big weekend in Formula Drift history with the series 20th ever unique winner! To make matters even more interesting Odi Bakchis became the 35th driver to ever podium in the sport after finishing in fourth twice. In my opinion this was the best Formula Drift event in history as far as entertainment and exciting tandem battles. More on the details of the event in my Top 10 Things post coming soon. Here is how the podium finished:
1. Fredric Aasbo
2. Chris Forsberg
3. Odi Bakchis
4. Charles Ng
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