Michael Essa

Chris Forsberg Has Filed Protest For Strategy Violation Per 6.7 in Rulebook

We are told Chris Forsberg has filed a protest using rule 6.7 – Competition Time Out with speculation that Luke Pakula threw the event to allow Michael Essa to move into the Top 16. Luke was staged on the line for over 2 minutes+ while Essa dealt with his blown motor. Luke then did donuts and pulled off the course claiming a broken transmission (after he drove off course and did donuts). He drove back to the pits and refused to run just moments after driving across the line in video and doing donuts. Chris and team have filed a protest claiming “strategy” which is clearly illegal within the rule posted below.

To maintain safety in the competition, during tandem competition runs only, teams may call for a Competition Timeout to make any necessary repairs. Competition Timeout’s are not allowed for Practice or Qualifying. Competition Timeout’s are not to be used for strategic purposes. Only the designated team representative will be allowed to request the Competition Timeout, and it must be made through a FORMULA DRIFT OFFICIAL. Only the COMPETITION MANAGER may grant a Competition Timeout. Team will not be granted a Competition Timeout if it is believed to be unwarranted. Competition Timeout’s are allowed for a maximum of five (5) minutes and are to be administered by the COMPETITION MANAGER.

Competitors who fail to make the necessary repairs the allotted time limits will be disqualified from the competition and forfeit to the opposing driver.

Teams may only use one (1) Competition Timeout throughout the competition. Additional and concurrent Competition Timeout requests are not allowed unless cited in other sections of these rules.

Competition Timeout repairs must be completed either trackside or in the pre-grid

What it takes to win in 2013 – Post Qualifying edition

After the first 6 qualifying passes were made at Irwindale, it was clear that this would come down to a three-horse race to the championship. Essa outscored the other five championship contenders, guaranteeing he would extend his lead going into Saturday’s competition, but the exact amount of his points lead would depend on how other drivers would score. Vaughn Gittin Jr would finish in Q2 after the first (and only) qualifying pass, giving him the best chance to remain in contention for the championship, but unfortunately, it’s not enough.

With all drivers earning at least 24 points in tandem for a top 32 finish, only 76 points remain in play. Adding in the points from qualifying, here is how the standings add up:

Name Points Pts Behind
1. Mike Essa 501.5 Points
2. Chris Forsberg 477 Points  – 24.5
3. Fredric Aasbo 426.5 Points – 75
4. Vaughn Gittin Jr 420 Points – 81.5
5. Daigo Saito 410.5 Points  – 91
6. Justin Pawlak 401 Points  – 100.5

With only 76 points possible, Gittin Jr, Saito, and Pawlak are now eliminated from championship contention. Should Essa win his tandem battle (the first one of the top-32 tandems which start at 4:30pm PST tomorrow), Aasbo will be statistically eliminated before he even gets a chance to drive in his tandem competition. If Essa does lose that tandem battle, Aasbo will need Forsberg to lose his Top 32 matchup and go on to win the event. A second place finish from Aasbo or a top-16 appearance from Forsberg will statistically eliminate Aasbo.

From there, the 24.5 point difference between Forsberg and Essa is fairly substantial. Should Essa lose in top 32, Forsberg will take the championship with a top-32 round win, regardless of how Aasbo finishes. If Essa finishes in the top-16, Forsberg needs to finish on the podium to take the title. With the brackets setup as they are, Essa and Forsberg could potentially meet in the top 8 to setup an amazing battle for the championship. Should Essa win that battle, he will guarantee himself the 2013 Formula D Championship. However, if he were to lose, he would still have a shot at the championship if Forsberg does NOT finish in first or second. A third place finish from Forsberg would net him 78 points, while a top-8 loss from Essa would net him 61 points, a difference of 17 points which is not enough to overcome the current gap.

SUMMARY: Essa loses in Top 32 and Forsberg wins in top 32, Forsberg wins championship.
Essa loses in Top 16 and Forsberg finishes on the podium, Forsberg wins championship.
Essa loses to Forsberg in Top 8 and Forsberg finishes in 1st or 2nd, Forsberg wins championship.
Essa loses in top 32, Forsberg loses in top 32, Aasbo wins the event, Aasbo wins championship.
In all other scenarios, Essa wins championship.

Clutchmasters Giveway – Thunder Sticks to Cheer on Michael Essa

Michael Essa is in the hot seat this weekend as he tries to defend his championship position against five others at Irwindale. Alongside Essa, Clutchmasters has six other drivers competing this weekend – Odi Bakchis, Chelsea Denofa, Kenneth Moen, Patrick Mordaunt, Mats Baribeau, and Enrique Mendoza. As a gift to their supporters and an added incentive for their fans to be the loudest cheerleaders in the grandstands, Clutchmaster’s will be handing out FREE Thunder Sticks to anyone who visits their booth at Irwindale this weekend. If you’re going to be at Irwindale Friday or Saturday, make sure to stop by their booth and pick up a pair.

What it takes to win in 2013: Mike Essa

Our final post in our series will cover the current leader in the championship chase, Mike Essa. Coming into 2013, Essa had a lot of unknowns in his toolbox. Sitting on Yokohama tires for the first time, his E46 chassis was freshly-built, and no BMW had ever taken a podium. For Essa, his first Podium would have been considered a success, and an event win would have been even better. But now that he’s the leader in the clubhouse for the championship with two event wins and a third podium finish, Essa is simply ecstatic. 

Current standings:

1. Mike Essa 489.5 Points
2. Chris Forsberg 474 Points
3. Fredric Aasbo 425.5 Points
4. Vaughn Gittin Jr 410 Points
5. Daigo Saito 409.5 Points
6. Justin Pawlak 400.5 Points

Essa’s plan is simple: don’t screw up. While this may sound simple, in 2012, the leader going into the final event did NOT win the championship due to an early elimination, and in 2011, the leader entering Irwindale was knocked out early in top 16 and had to cheer for another drivers to screw up in top 8 before securing the championship. With a 15 point lead, finishing in the same around as Chris Forsberg or finishing just 1 step below Forsberg will earn the championship from Essa. As we outlined yesterday, qualifying will be very important, and both drivers have out-qualified each other an equal number of times, which will make the first two runs of Friday’s qualifying session two of the most important qualifying runs of the entire season.

Essa’s Irwindale results haven’t been the greatest historically, missing the top 32 cut in 2010, hitting only top 32 last year, and only top 16 in 2009 and 2011. However, Essa has proven that this year and his current E46 BMW chassis is far superior than the previous E92 or Z4 chassis, and previous results should be expected to be exceeded. Should Essa confirm the championship this season, he would become the first driver to earn the championship after earning his license in the Formula D ProAm system as all previous Formula D drivers have earned their license either by competing in Formula D since the beginning (Millen, Hubinette, Forsberg, Yoshihara, Gittin Jr) when licensing wasn’t an option or via their previous driving (Foust) or International (Saito) resume. This would be a huge accomplishment that would give up-and-coming drivers a sense of achievability towards the FD championship that may not be there today.

2013 Formula Drift Irwindale Speedway – Tentative Drivers List

Here are the people who have paid and registered to drift next weekend at the House of Drift. The real strong title contenders are Mike Essa and Chris Forsberg and unless they drop the ball big time one of them is taking home a championship. If they both fail to advance a win could be taken by another driver to advance and win a championship as well. All eyes on Irwindale next weekend! Here is who is driving:
1 Essa, Mike 101
2 Forsberg, Chris 64
3 Aasbo, Fredric 151
4 Gittin, Vaughn Jr. 25
5 Saito, Daigo 1
6 Pawlak, Justin 13
7 Field, Matt 777
8 McNamara, Darren 8
9 Bakchis, Odi 723
10 Nishida, Robbie 31
11 Yoshihara, Daijiro 9
12 Grunewald, Conrad 79
13 Denofa, Chelsea 88
14 Moen, Kenneth 22
15 Powers, Matt 665
16 Tuerck, Ryan 62
17 George, Danny 7
18 McQuarrie, Tyler 17
19 Wang, Forrest 808
20 Kado, Ryan 614
21 Mordaunt, Patrick 90
22 Gushi, Ken 21
23 Yoshioka, Toshiki 104
24 Maeng, Joon 51
25 Aono, Taka 86
26 Ovcharik, Miroslav 235
27 Goodin, Patrick 46
28 Mohan, Kyle 99
29 Jones, Jeff 29
30 Angelo, Tony 96
31 Briggs, Dave 24
32 Baribeau, Mats* 30
33 Mertzanis, Dennis 323
34 Castro, Jhonnattan 717
35 Ward, Chris 23
36 Kearney, Dean 43
38 Wicknick, Brandon* 801
39 Parsons, Will* 48
40 Hamilton, Nate* 144
41 Hosford, Corey 232
42 Rydquist, Carl 300
44 Jeanneret, Chris* 111
45 Primozich, Rob* 3
46 Stone, Gabe 15
47 Mendoza Jr., Enrique 16
48 Wilkerson, Walker 95
49 Steele, Josh* 72
50 Moore, Victor 360
52 Hildebrand, J.R. 6
53 Pakula, Luke* 714
55 Lee, Alex 81
57 Osaki, Karl* 14
61 Cano Estrella, Carlos 10

Odi Bakchis Testing his New Formula Drift Legal WiseFab Kit [VIDEO]

Odi Bakchis went out to test his WiseFab Formula Drift legal kit on his S14 this weekend at Willow Springs. The old kit moved mounting points making the kit illegal. They did build a kit that Michael Essa has run this season which relocates the shock but maintains the factory mounting points. You can see that kit in the image below:

The kit has to draw some attention since Michael Essa has drifted this E46 to a championship position with just one round to go in the 2013 Formula Drift championship. Here are some other looks/angeles of Michael Essa’s E46 suspension just before its debut at Streets of Long Beach.

Wrecked Magazine Commenters the New Stars of NetworkA’s Off-Track [VIDEO]

The world famous Wrecked Magazine trouble makers/anonymous commenters  get some limelight over on NetworkA’s Off-Track. Danger Andy took his favorite and most controversial comments and made the Formula Drift drivers read the comments about themselves. They got quite the hilarious looks and responses from some of the drivers. You can jump to our section with this link “Network A Off-Track – Texas Motor Speedway” in case you don’t want to watch the first four and a half minutes. Here are some screen grabs we loved from the video:

2013 Formula Drift Round 6 at Texas Motor Speedway Full Press Conference [VIDEO]

Check out the full 15 minute post race press conference featuring Justin Pawlak, Daigo Saito, Matt Field, Michael Essa, Chris Forsberg, and Vaughn Gittin Jr. The video shows questions asked by the press and answered by the various drivers. Matt Field talked about his end of the big protest overturn as he sat on the line waiting to run his battle, Chris Forsberg tells us he wants Jameson as his podium beverage, and Vaughn Gittin Jr. talks openly about being on the receiving end of an overturned judge decision that basically ruined his championship hopes in 2013.

2013 Formula D Championship Standings after Texas [STANDINGS]

After taking his second career win by eliminating fellow championship contender Chris Forsberg in the Final 4, Mike Essa slides into first place in the Formula D championship standings. With a maximum of 112 points up for grabs in Irwindale, 6 drivers still have a statistical shot at winning the championship. Here’s a look at how the points stack up after six of seven rounds of competition.

1. Michael Essa                   489.5 points
2. Chris Forsberg                 474 points
3. Fredric Aasbo                  425.5 points
4. Vaughn Gittin Jr          410 points
5. Daigo Saito                      409.5 points
6. Justin Pawlak                400.5 points
7. Matt Field                       350 points
8. Darren McNamara       332.5 points
9. Odi Bakchis                    322 points
10. Robbie Nishida             314.25 points
11. Dai Yoshihara              309.25 points
12. Conrad Grunewald     285 points
13.Chelsea Denofa              266.5 points
14. Kenny Moen                  258.75 points
15. Matt Powers                  257.5 points
16. Ryan Tuerck               229 points

2013 Formula Drift Round 6 Texas Motor Speedway [RESULTS]

After an event that had more protests than any other Formula Drift event, Michael Essa takes home 1st place.

1. Michael Essa
2. Matt Field
3. Chris Forsberg