Sorry for the delay in getting this post out guys, my todo list is currently out of control. Spending two weeks travelling to SEMA, EA DICE Sweden, Superlap Battle and Red Bull Long Beach now means that I'm rather snowed under at the office.
So without further ado, let's jump in to our review of the Top 16 battles from the Red Bull Drifting World Championships.
The first battle: Millen vs. Verdier was a bit of a one-sided affair.
The Red Bull Solstice was on such good form and there was little that Verdier could do to keep Millen at bay.
Next up was Vaughn Gitten vs. Wild Bill Sherman. The first run was too close to determine a winner and a one more time was called.
The second run had more clear domination from JR and he moved on to the Great Eight.
Out the gate for the next Top 16 run. Foust in the Rockstar Papadakis Racing 350Z and McNamara in the Sears Team Falken Saturn Sky had a very close run. It looked like anyone's game.
On the second run though, Darren spun the car and lightly tapped the wall. The curtains were drawn on his 2008 season and he was send back to the Falken Tire pit.
Up next were was the battle of the two Kiwis: Mad Mike Whiddett and his wild quad rotor wide-body RX7 vs 2007 Triple NZ Drift champion Carl Ruiterman, and his standard drift spec Nissan S14.
I believe this was only the 2nd event for Mike's updated RX7 and the new engine seemed to really give him the legs on Carl.
Compare this photo…
… to this one. You can see the domination from the RX7 pilot.
Never the less, a one more time was called before a winner became clear. This was made easier to call when Ruiterman went into the wall. Mad Mike brushed his door against the S14, but escaped major accident damage. This photo shows the moment of impact.
The RX7 swallowed its front spoiler as it continued around the drift course…
To the point that it became impossible to steer….You can see the accident damage on the left hand door. The windshield seems to be broken too.
Repairs would be needed before the next round started.
The main David Vs Goliath battle of the event was Malaysian's Tengku Djan vs Sweden/USA's Samuel Hubinette.
The first run was very close….
….to the point that the judges called a one more time. Great job Djan!
Second time around though. Samuel edged out an advantage and took the win. His entry speed was a staggering 103 mph…..
…..a velocity that the Malaysian driver couldn't match. He was left behind in Samuel's smoke and was sent packing.
I felt bad for Robbie Nishida….
Both he and Forsberg had an AMAZINGLY close first battle. It was stunning…
On the second run Nishida really had the legs on Forsberg. He wowed the crowd with a 103.6 mph entry speed and opened up a big gap to the V8 Nissan convertible. Forsberg was finished, but Nishida lost his composure and slammed his car into the wall, mid course.
Forsberg moved on.
Daijiro Yoshihara was on amazing form all day. His maxed out drift initiations were both exhilarating and scary to watch. There wasn't really any way Australian Champion Leighton Fine was going to beat him. Not in this borrowed car at least.
Dai moved on and Leighton was left to think about what might have been if he had his Drift Australia Championship car to work with.
The final Top 16 run was between Norway's Fredric Aasbo and Japan's Katsuhiro Ueo.
The 2002 D1GP Champion seemed to have some problems following the slower Supra and scored a less than perfect run. A one more time was called.
Second time around though and a clear advantage was shown. The only D1GP representative at the Red Bull Drift Event moved on to the Great 8.
The Great 8 battles looked like so:
Hubinette Vs. Forsburg
Yoshihara Vs. Ueo
Millen Vs. Gittin
Foust Vs. Whiddet.
We'll look at these runs all the way to the finals tomorrow.