With the halfway point behind us the competition was really starting to heat up for round four of the Cody’s D1NZ National Drifting Championship. After two rounds of drifting on smaller custom built tracks, the drivers welcomed the return of Taupo Motorsport Park. Not only did it mean getting away from the dangerous concrete walls, but the fast and flowing layout would allow the drivers to really push their cars to the limit.
For Gaz Whiter and his team however it was a disastrous start before the competition had even begun. During the Friday test session Whiter’s LS7 suffered engine failure caused by loss of oil pressure. Shortly afterward the team went about the huge process of stripping the engine, inspecting, cleaning and rebuilding it from the ground up.
You have to admire their dedication because at this point most teams would probably pack up and go home. At 4pm the next day however, to everyone’s amazement, that familiar V8 rumble was heard once again in pit-lane and Whiter went about his business as usual – qualifying in P6.
Current leader in championship points Mad Mike Whiddett was aiming to extend his sizable lead this round in the quad-rotor ‘Madbul’ RX7. Mike knows the track well and went on to lay down two 85 point runs in qualifying claiming 8th spot.
More drama occurred in the battles when Matt Lauder, a newcomer to Pro this season, defeated current champion Fanga Dan Woolhouse. After a first run that was too close to call the battle would go one more time where Lauder would capitalize on a slow exit from Fanga on the final corner.
The best battle of the round would definitely go to that of Nico Reid vs Mad Mike Whiddett. With Reid’s RB powered Silvia having the speed and angle down to a fine art, and Mike’s superb chase runs it was another battle that went one more time. Again it was too close to pick a definitive winner so the pair would go once more. On the last corner Nico Reid got a little too close to Whiddett, making contact and spinning Mike handing him the win.
Fast forward to the final battle now with Curt Whittaker in the Autosure 2JZ R34 who had taken out Mad Mike, coming up against Gaz Whiter who was simply destroying his competition despite having almost no practice time. Whittaker was first to lead, picking up an early advantage when Whiter made a small mistake.
After swapping over Whiter went all out, piloting the Tectaloy S14 to a near perfect line. At the end of the section he was able to create enough of a gap in proximity on Whittaker and walk away with the round win!
Gaz Whiter and the team will be absolutely stoked with the round win, especially after a spell of bad luck in the previous rounds of competition. The win puts Whiter in second place overall in championship points, followed closely by Whittaker in third place overall. Mad Mike Whiddett remains in first place overall retaining a substantial lead in the competition. Next round the series travels to New Zealand’s south island based track Ruapuna Raceway. With the local drivers having far more experience at this track than the majority of the field, round five will be exciting to watch!