Ok final report from Red Bull… We all know the results by now of course but let's take one final look at the tandem bouts for those who are interested in the play by play unfolding of events.
By the time the Great 8 started there was an increasing sense of anticipation and tension building in the crowd. The atmosphere of excitement was increasing.
I was speaking to JR on the phone the other day and he said he knew it would be 50/50 as to if he could make the first turn or not. He had to match Rhys Millen's entry speed in order to beat him…
But the weight of the Mustang's 3 tons pulled it into the wall… JR was out of the event and we all said goodbye to his 2005 Mustang for the last time.
In this photo, Mad Mike is but an eyeblink away from tagging the wall with the back corner of his FD….
… As J-rod says, he was "letting it all hang out" in an effort to take on the machine-like control of Tanner Foust. It wasn't to be though, as Mad Mike's wildness only served to cause him to lose points and he was out.
Hubinette vs Forsberg was a bit of a non-battle. Forsberg stalled
his car on the startline and had to conceded the round to the factory
Mopar Viper driver.
Next up was Yoshihara vs Ueo…. This was my favourite battle of the entire event.
Look at how insanely early Ueo is kicking his car into a drift… There was no one even close to this level of craziness.
Remember, his Nissan Silvia is travelling close to 100 mph….
Some of the cars were only initiating their drifts at the second cone.. but Ueo was well into his sideways action at this stage… It looked like he had his S15 at a 90 degree angle to his trajectory… To watch this initiation in person was truly shocking. Every time it looked like he was going to crash, but every time he kept the car but millimeters off the wall. Truly incredible car control.
To my eyes Dai was the only person who could approach scaring the judges to the same degree….
Unfortunately this bout was not without controversy. Dai got into tank slapper and went off course, Ueo ended up passing him without losing his drift.
Normally this should have been a sudden death moment. Go off course you are out. However, the crowd immediately started calling for a "one more time" in spite of the Dai's big mistake. Perhaps they didn't see the incident clearly…
Whatever the case, the judges also called for yet another one more time. To my eyes Ueo clearly won the round, but they were forced to go again…
This time around Dai showed dominance and Ueo was out. I felt a little frustrated at the time, I have to be honest. Ueo was one of the only drivers present who could present a challenge to the dominant Formula D drifters, and now he was out. With his elimination, the last international challenger was gone from the event.
Anyway don't mind me… I'm sure every one has their own "armchair expert" opinion about the judging calls.
The Final 4 lined up like so:
Millen Vs. Foust
Hubinette Vs. Yoshihara
Rhys Millen's Solstice was working so well on the temporary Red Bull Drift course it was going to take a major mistake for Foust to beat him.
Tanner did his best, but he was just not quite on the level of the Millen and his Red Bull Solstice. The Battle of the Energy Drinks went to Red Bull.
Pretty cool photo BTW. Tanner looks cool as ice. Great job, Jimmy.
The first stage of Hubinette vs Yoshihara was dead close…
Second time around though, Samuel overcooked his entry….
…. and backed the car into the wall… The final was now set: the two RMR cars going up against one another.
With the event rapidly running out of sunlight, Tanner took the consolation victory. This run also marks the end of the line for the Rock Star 350Z.
As dusk set in, the two finalists set off… Such was Millen's form, it would take a miracle for Dai to take victory.
And that miracle didn't happen… Dai spun on his second run, and Millen took the overall honours.
Looking back, my favoute part of the Red Bull event was seeing the world's "western" drift communities coming together to create the year's biggest drifting event. Drifters, teams and organizers from around the world banded together create a classic event with potential for a great future.
The location choice was inspired; The industrial backdrop was very cool and added to the historical nature of the event.
I supposed without the top D1GP drivers at the event, the Formula Drift teams were always going to dominate the proceedings. In someways Red Bull felt to me a little bit like the D1GP USA based Invitational events, but in reverse; that is, the numbers were slanted away from any outsider really being able to wrestle the overall victory from the host teams. Ueo was the only outsider who looks like he could stand up to the might of the top US teams, even with his standard issue Nissan Silvia. Let's hope that next year the good people at Red Bull and Formula Drift can sort out an agreement with D1GP to bring together all of the world's top drifters together in one spot.
I for one will be there… in the mean time though, we have our own invitational Top 32 international drift/time attack event to organize for next summer… we'll see how it goes!