It might not have been a proper competition with points, but boy did the action from Sunday's D1 All Star day not disappoint! I was expecting everyone to take it easy, and seeing the weather turned very cold it was a good thing they put on a good show or a lot of people would have left! By mid-afternoon the winds were freezing but I didn't see anyone get up and take off as the top seeded guys were providing just way too much excitement.
Murayama's rear end was another casualty of those concrete barriers, but the damage didn't hamper his style at all.
The All Star line-up included all the cars from Saturday…
…as well as a few new ones like Tomokazu Hirota's brand new AS Mori built Lexus GS350. The big luxury sedan is running a 2JZ swap at the moment but will soon be boasting a custom built monster-motor capable of developing 800 HP. More on this soon.
For the All Stars tsuiso runs in the afternoon the course layout was changed a bit and the cars looped back around and hit the judged corner once again traveling in the opposite direction. Double the action and tire smoke!
I haven't digested the new livery on Nomuken's Skyline yet, but I'm sure it will grow on me as the rest of the season progresses.
The gaijin line-up, Hübinette's ex-Ueno Soarer, Wang's Soarer…
…and Pollard's RPS13, a very cool car indeed.
Girl delivery service, but I'm afraid to say there is no stripper pole on this particular ride!
The negative camber on Hibino's AE86 is insane!
Hirota had a rather embarrassing debut run with his GS. On top of not qualifying during Friday's preliminary round his first outing in front of spectators ended with him going straight into the sponge barriers. It was a soft hit so no damage. New cars are always difficult to get a hang on in competition so I'm sure he will do much better in the next few rounds.
Top drivers each had a one-run session in the morning to impress the judges…
…to determine the top-5 in a sort of mini-competition…
…which Kawabata managed to win by grabbing the top spot from Orido.
And talking of Kawabata one of the Toyo Tires guys showed me the message he left to Kuroi in one of the booklets in his memorial area. 4 or 5 of these booklets got filled up over the weekend.
This was on of the hardest fought battle I have seen D1, between Suenaga and Tezuka. The judges just couldn't make their minds up as both drivers were giving it 110%. After calling for 3 one-more-times Suenaga managed to go through to the semi final up against Imamura.
After blowing his rear diff Hibino borrowed the SC430 from his team mate Matsukawa and proceeded to go for a go. He was having trouble getting accustomed to the totally different driving style of the Lexus and the explosive 3S-GTE power but he tried his best up against Orido in the Best 16.
Orido however had the upper hand and went on to the Best 8 where he lost to Imamura.
Kumakubo managed to reach the Best 8 but lost out to Saito who again crashed during his warm up run and also into the side of Kuma's Evo X!
Yokomo RC cars are as popular as usual but it's the smaller 1/16 Ichiroku M that are grabbing all the attention with tons of little hop up options now available.
But in the end, like the previous day…
…it was Imamura that once again took the first spot, making his new Dunlop sponsors very happy.
That completes the coverage from this first round of the D1, but don't fear, there will be plenty more sideways action to feast your eyes on as the season gets busier and busier…the Drift Matsuri is not too far off now!
-Dino Dalle Carbonare