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2014 D1NZ Round 1 at Manfeild Raceway [RECAP]

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Shortly after wrapping up the 2014 drifting season here in New Zealand we were back at it again for 2015! The Demon Energy D1NZ series stopped by at Manfeild Raceway in the lower North Island for Round 1 of competition. With high speed entries, smooth flowing corners and large runoffs this would be a chance to really test the cars – many of which receiving new setups during the off-season.

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One of those would be Fanga Dan Woolhouse in his Century Batteries Holden Commodore. The new VE chassis has been in the works for a while now – built as a serious championship contender to the tune of well over 600hp. However later in the day a broken axle meant the new car would not go on and instead Fanga would borrow Ben Jenkins’ Pro-Am S13, driving well but without the necessary pace for a round win.
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Similarly the current D1 champion Gaz Whiter was not driving his usual high power LS7 Silvia. Shipping that car to Australia for World Time Attack meant Whiter would borrow an RB powered C33 Laurel last used in competition back in 2007. Even with Whiter’s experience and driving ability the team knew it would be a challenge come battle time, and unfortunately electrical problems took him out of the game early.

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2014 Formula Drift Comeback of the Year – Daigo Saito

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Daigo Saito actually earned this award from his performance at Irwindale Speedway this weekend. He qualified 29th and ended up winning the event which defines how a comeback works to earn this merit/points based award. To make matters even more impressive, he crashed on his first qualifying run of the weekend and scrambled to fix the car almost missing his second qualifying run where he put down a score to qualify 29th. Kind of makes his journey all that more impressive for his comeback of the year!

2014 Formula Drift Fan Vote – Car of the Year – Forrest Wang

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Forrest Wang wins another award for his 2014 season. This one was given to him by the fans to award him for his stylish and good looking S14 Nissan 240sx. It also helps that he looks really really good and wild when sliding this car around a track. Formula Drift reported that over 10,000 votes were cast for this category and Wang took home the win.

2014 Formula Drift Fan Vote – Driver of the Year – Fredric Aasbo

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Fredric Aasbo won the fan voting award for favorite driver this season. He is now a TV star and has drift cars in Asia + Europe along with his Formula Drift program. It makes sense he wins the fan favorite driver award as his international profile grows and grows.

2014 Formula Drift Spirit of Drifting – Forrest Wang

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Another award has come to Forrest Wang for his 2014 season. This one is voted on by his peers and is meant to be given to that special driver who just really embraces and embodies the sport. He is by far one of the most underfunded drivers in the top 5 of championship points which I think really makes this award deserved for him and his team.

2014 Formula Drift Hardest Charging Driver of the Year – Chelsea DeNofa

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Chelsea DeNofa drove to insane levels this season all year. His car didn’t want to operate on the level that he was hoping to drive this season but when it worked he looked insane. His follow battle against Karl Osaki in the Top 32 at Texas Motor Speedway is probably the tandem follow of the year! We could go on for hours about how entertaining he was this season including his tires going up in flames at one point. This was a well deserved award for Chelsea in 2014.

2014 Formula Drift Best Drifting Style – Forrest Wang

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Forrest Wang gets best drifting style from his peers this season. He also took home top qualifying honors over the last two rounds of Formula Drift this year and two podiums all while drifting in an amazing fashion. Here is some in car footage of his top qualifying run in Texas if you want to see his style in real life.

2014 Formula Drift Team Manager of the Year – Stephan Papadakis

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Team Manager of the Year is probably an understatement for what Stephan Papadakis has done for his team this season. He lead his crew through two very clutch engine swaps before qualifying (if either engine swap was unsuccessful Fredric Aasbo would of been far from winning a championship at Irwindale). Stephan has built an insane four cylinder engine in a FWD Scion tC that is RWD converted to compete  with the biggest top dogs in drifting. This POV video with data shows just how insane this car works.

2014 Formula Drift Crew Member of the Year – Brian Wilkerson

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Brian Wilkerson has been a drifter, shop owner, and now work horse for the Chris Forsberg Racing team. Brian and his MA Motorsports team are currently building our Vapure V3 240sx currently as well in Maryland. Chris never missed a beat this season with mechanical issues showing why he clearly earned this award.

2014 Formula Drift Best Personal Style – Ryan Tuerck

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Ryan Tuerck pulled best personal style as voted on by his Formula Drift peers. His new street car Scion FR-S is a reflection of his simplistic style you can see on display when he is anywhere on the track.