After a long summer break, the NFS-EDC circus arrived at Snetterton in Norfolk of the grand finale of the 2009 season. With the title still within reach of 3 people, NFS-EDC round 5 had all the makings of event of the year.
The Coram section of Snetterton has not been used for a drift event for a good few years and I for one had forgotten just how spectacular it is. A very top end of 4th gear entry into the right hand Coram curve was followed by 95mph+ run down the hill into a temporary chicane then a huge slowdown into the tight and technical right left of Russel bends. It's a mix of 'pinch marks in the seat' speed and technical 2nd gear sections with the added bonus of limited run off … not a place for the faint of heart!
Slightly scary nature of the track aside, it didn't take the competitors long to get into the groove. Steve Will in the M3 turbo seamed to revel in the high speed Coram corner, putting in some devastating practice runs and leaving smoke trail round the entire track..
In fact the smoke screen was that thick it made it impossible to get a shot of him running down the hill.
James Russell in the DCY Skyline was looking impressive with huge angle while carrying 95+mph. I was talking to James after the event and he said it was impossible for him to enter Coram any faster, as he was on the rev limit in 4th gear!
In between drift runs, Dave Jenkins showed what was possible with 1000hp and 7 tonnes. It was massively impressive and slightly unnerving to have this spectacle pass not 20 feet from you at neigh on 100mph.
Into the competition and the first to progress to the Great 8 was Kieran Cameron, after a high speed spin from Steve Will knocked his confidence a little.
Title contender Phil Morrison was drawn against his main rival for the 2009 championship Mark Luney. After the first runs, Luney had a 6-4 advantage leaving Morrison it all to do…
..Chasing hard: Morrison looked like he had made up the disadvantage through Coram, but pushed a little too hard and ran out of stopping power for Russel and spun. Thus giving the win to Luney.
Peter Barber was next up against Kieran Cameron
..Taking the advantage in both runs, Barber progressed to the semi finals.
..Straight into a battle with Paul Conlan. Conlan took the first runs leaving Barber on the catch up..
.. a monumental effort from Barber was not enough to make up the disadvantage and Conlan got through to the finals.
This was always going to be a tricky one; Mark Luney is very hard to beat on fast tracks with his all or nothing style suiting Snetterton perfectly. He was up against the on form James Russell who had been constantly fast and aggressive all day. It was always going to be a hard one to call…
…The first runs were too close to call and the battle went 'one more time'. Luney had to win the event to take the title, and he wasn't going to be easy to beat. For the second run a stunning display of driving gave him the advantage and the ticket to the finals.
..Leaving Russell to battle it out with Peter Barber for the 3rd place run off.
Another very close battle with Barber getting the overtake in the final turn, to take the win and 3rd place over all…
All that was standing now between Mark Luney and the Need for Speed – European Drift 2009 championship was his good friend Paul Conlan…
Friendship aside, neither driver was giving a inch matching each other blow for blow through Coram and down to Russel. Head Judge Maz scoring them equal on the first runs, so the decision was made to run the battle again to decide the not only the winner of the final round, but the winner of the championship..
Mark took the advantage the first re-run then sealed the deal with a Peter Barber style overtake in the final turn to take the round and the championship.
The results for the round Mark Luney 1st, Paul Conlan 2nd Peter Barber 3rd.
After 6 rounds the title was decided on the very last battle of the final event of the season, Mark Luney taking the 2009 championship with Phil Morrison in 2nd place and Peter Barber in 3rd.
- Ross I'Anson