Photo recap: Formula Drift round 4 - New Jersey at Wall Speedway
Formula Drift returns with round 4 at Wall Stadium Speedway in New Jersey. Every track of Formula Drift championship is special in its own way and FDNJ is no different - famous for its compact layout, 30 degree bank angle and the "wall" - old metal fence on top of the bank that can catch up a driver and throw around. Obviously drivers are required to drift as close as possible to the wall. Event is always sold out and the grandstands packed. While there was a slight rain during friday, the weekend weather was just perfect for a great show! As always, a recap of each 86/BRZ team drivers and their performance.
Cameron Moore qualified in 21st position in his Nameless Performance 2JZ powered Toyota 86 and matched up with Alex Heilbrunn in Top32. Alex Heilbrunn has made a strong presence in 2017 season and Cameron had hard time catching up in follow run resulting in cutting corners to gain proximity. In lead run Cameron Moore did a big mistake and straightened for a second on the bank. This resulted all three judges voting for Heilbrunn.
Jhonnattan Castro had probably the best tandems of 2017 season with James Deane in Orlando. Wall Speedway is similar to Orlando track but Castro qualified only in 23rd position in the Toyota Racing 2AR powered 86. On the race day running against Juha Rintanen in Top32 the battle was questioned before as Castro damaged his car in practice by hitting Chelsea DeNofa in his RTR Mustang. Juha Rintanen did the same - hit Vaughn Gittin Jr. in his RTR Mustang. Both drivers managed to fix their cars to run Top32. In follow run Castro lacks proximity in the beginning but then regains it and both drivers finish smoothly. On lead run Castro did well and Rintanen made a lot of mistakes, but just before last turn Castro spins out and both drivers get incomplete run. Judging only first run all three judges vote for Rintanen to move to top16.
Ken Gushi qualified only 25th in the Greddy Racing / Toyota Racing / Boost Brigade 2JZ powered Toyota 86 and matched up against Michael Essa in Top32. On Essa lead run Gushi made small mistakes during the catchup game to gain and lose proximity to avoid contact. On lead run Gushi goes a bit too far from the fence on the bank and allows Essa to stay very close almost till the end of run. All judges vote for Essa to move to top16.
Ryan Tuerck has made a solid stance this year by getting bye runs in 2 out of 3 previous rounds and New Jersey no different - qualified 2nd in the Gumout 2JZ powered Toyota 86 going straight to Top16. In Top16 Tuerck meets Aurimas "Odi" Bakchis. On Tuerck's lead run both drivers run strong and no major mistakes. On Bakchis lead run Odi does slow down and Tuerck has to correct himself and takes out a clip. Tuerck closes the gap again but lacks line. Judges watch replays and vote for Bakchis to move to Top8.
After Top16 ended judges announced that a protest was made by Ryan Tuerck and his team suggesting that Odi Bakchis slowed down in a "no slowdown" zone causing Ryan Tuerck to back off and correct. After protest review this is the first time in Formula Drift history that judges reverse their decision and decide for One More Time. In OMT Tuerck lead both drivers have small mistakes but have solid runs with no advantage for either. In Bakchis lead run Tuerck loses proximity by the end of the run. One judge votes for Bakchis and two judges vote OMT again!
OMT 2x - Tuerck leads with solid run but Bakchis shows a very close follow proximity and gets advantage. On second run Bakchis shows a perfect lead run but Tuerck doesn't show similar proximity as Bakchis did. One judge votes for Tuerck, two judges vote for Bakchis and Odi moves to Top8. Odi ended up winning the event with most runs during the day and even killing his engine in finals.
Dai Yoshihara / Falken Tire, Turn14 Subaru BRZ
Daijiro Yoshihara scored the highest out of our covered teams in New Jersey. Qualified in 17th and matched up against Dan Burkett in Top32. Both drivers had clean runs on Burkett lead. On Yoshihara lead both drivers made a lot of mistakes - Burkett lacked proximity, Yoshihara lacked line. One judge voted for OMT, two judges voted for Yoshihara to move to Top16 to match up with Chelsea DeNofa. On DeNofa lead run Yoshihara makes a major correction giving advantage to DeNofa. On second run Chelsea DeNofa over-rotates coming off the bank and Yoshihara just finishes run smoothly and moves to Great 8.
Top8 - Yoshihara vs Essa. On Essa lead run Yoshihara almost loses drift after coming down the bank and loses proximity throughout entire run giving advantage to Essa. On lead run Yoshihara does a solid run, Essa follows with a big gap. Considering Yoshihara mistake on first run all judges vote for Essa to move to Top4. Essa ends up in 2nd place overall.
Podium: 1st Odi Bakchis, 2nd Michael Essa, 3rd Kristaps Blušs
Next round - Formula DriftROUND 5: TRUE NORTH - MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA
Photography: Valters BožeExtra photos: