Formula Drift Irwindale - The House of Drift
Round 8 of Formula Drift 2016 championship took place at Irwindale Speedway, CA. And it was spectacular. It was the best event for the ZN6 chassis, it was the final round of this year and track configuration was probably the toughest ever for the cars and drivers combining one 180 degree wall ride and another 270 degree wall ride. Cars and engines broke down left and right and noone could predict the outcome of this event as three top drivers were after the championship title.
Autograph signing had a long line left even after an hour!
All four drivers of Toyota 86 / Subaru BRZ teams qualified and only 29 drivers qualified for the tandem race. For the first time in Formula D history the "86" drivers qualified in two top spots. Daijiro Yoshihara took first qualification spot and Ryan Tuerck second so first battle in top32 was a solo bye-run for both. Ken Gushi qualified 15th and Jhonnattan Castro qualified 23rd.
Jhonnattan Castro was on fire during practice in his Nexen Tire Scion FR-S, pushing really close follow runs and tons of smoke. Unfortunately Castro lost the Top32 battle against Charles Ng and season ended right there.
Ken Gushi had a very rough weekend having technical issues with his GReddy Scion FR-S after he hit the wall during practice.
In Top32 he went against Mike Whiddett in the Red Bull Mazda MX-5 during Top 32 and got into collision. Ken was found at fault and was eliminated from the race.
Ryan Tuerck after his solo bye-run in Top32 got another bye-run in Top16 as he had to drive against Mike Whiddett but his car was too damaged to fix it in time and Tuerck moved on to Top8 where he would meet Tyler "The Rock" McQuarrie in his Camaro. Ryan Tuerck took the win.
In Top4 technical issues came up and team had to take a time-out to fix a crank sensor. Unfortunately they couldn't replace it in time and car just wouldn't start. The team dropped out and gave a bye-run for Matt Field who went on to meet our top qualifier Daijiro Yoshihara. Ryan Tuerck having qualified 2nd position automatically received a 3rd place for the event and took the podium.
Yoshihara had a blast weekend even with "little" technical problems, like engine leaking, differential dead, etc. But1st qualifying gave a free pass in Top32.
After his bye-run to Top 16 he went against Geoff Stoneback and won the battle.
After Bluss and Rintanen took the tough and close battle including a OMT in Top16 the judges decided to continue with Rintanen and Dai. Even the Turn 14 / Falken Subaru BRZ had engine problems with oil leaks from various locations it's been a few years and the team has gotten the BRZ in a very capable shape. With Dai's experience they took it to Top 4 to go against Pat Mordaunt.
This was Falken-on-Falken battle, which helped the brand to overcome Nexen Tire in the Tire Manufacturer Championship. With Dai staying right at Pat Mordaunt's door and a better-looking lead run, Yoshihara moved on to the finals to meet Matt Field.
Falken against Falken again. First run Dai failed to start drifting on the outer bank on his follow, on second run Matt made contact with Dai so they got a OMT. Dai took a time-out to get car in better shape but it was for the worst. Drivers always do circles and 8-shapes before runs to get everything oiled properly especially steering. Still on next run Daijiro Yoshihara crashed on the inner bank with a power steering failure. Without a timeout to use, Matt Field was given the win and that was the end of 2016 season.
Podium from left: Daijiro Yoshihara (2nd), Matt Field (1st), Ryan Tuerck (3rd)
It was an amazing event. Also the fact that Chris Forsberg didn't take the podium for the first time in 2016. But he was on podium for every other race and although he never took the 1st place, his consistency made him leader in points and he became the champion of 2016 Formula D series.
Scion Racing "SR BY TOYOTA" with help of Fredric Aasbo driving the Scion TC took a bold 1st place in Formula Drift manufacturers "Auto Cup" with 933 points, Nissan following in 2nd place with 748 points.
Final 2016 FD championship standings for FRS/BRZ drivers:
6. Daijiro Yoshihara
7. Ken Gushi
9. Ryan Tuerck
23. Jhonnattan Castro
This was the best event ending the 2016 and we can't wait for the next season!
Photos: Valters Bože