Yesterday we had a look at Friday's practice and qualifying action at Formula Drift Atlanta. Now it's time for some scenes from the Top 32 tandem competition on Saturday afternoon.
As the fans kicked back with their blankets, BBQ's, and coolers full of brewskies, it was up to the FD drivers to put on a show. And that they did.
The first match put No. 1 qualifier Tanner Foust against No. 32 qualifier Matt Waldin. Now Matt Waldin has shown he can drive in the past…
…but there are times when Tanner and his Scion can appear unstoppable – like this one. Foust gets the win and moves to the Top 16.
The next match was over as soon as it started. Charles Ng hit the hard during entry, damaging his RX7 and handing the win to Ken Gushi.
And just like that, the two tC's were in the Top 16.
Ng's car looked pretty banged up, but I don't think it'll stop him from running in Jersey. The man is driven.
Next up, Cyrus Martinez and Chris Forsberg.
No huge surprises here. The defending champ drives like the defending champ, and moves on.
The following battle saw Mopar and Ford going at it as Doug VanDenBrink faced Sam Hubinette.
I noticed that Doug and his Mustang had some very impressive runs during practice, but here it was Hubinette who would advance.
The next two cars to run were Mad Mike's RX8 and Dai Yoshihara's S13.
Of course we all know how the day would end for Dai. Here he simply out-drove Mike with more speed, more angle, and more everything.
Next up, one of the day's big upsets as Pat Mordaunt went against Tyler McQuarrie. As he followed Pat Tyler lost drift in the horse shoe, which proved to be a very costly mistake.
Tyler looked much better on the second run, but it wasn't enough. Pat takes the win.
The next two drivers to go at it were Cody Parkhouse and Rhys Millen.
Cody doesn't have much experience in tandem competition, and Rhys is a tough guy to face for anyone. The Hyundai moves on.
Darren McNamara and Taka Aono would face off next.
This was a battle putting one of the fastest cars against one of the slowest. DMac was able to use this to his advantage and take the win.
Dennis Mertzanis would then face Ryan Tuerck in front of a hometown crowd.
Tuerck was able to build a nice lead on the fist run, and stuck right with Dennis on the second. Hampshaa takes the win.
The next battle was a close one as Kyle Mohan met Ross Petty.
But it was Ross and the Boso S15 that had the edge here, and won the ticket to the Top 16.
In the following match Vaughn Gittin Jr. faced Michi Takatori in a Mustang vs. Silvia battle.
A rather easy win for Vaugh here, as he opened a huge lead during the first run.
The next two drivers to run were Dean Kearney and Joon Maeng.
Kearney's car suffered a break-down here, and Joon and the RX8 would advance. Once again, it doesn't matter how talented the driver is if the car doesn't work.
Another all-V8 battle next as Forrest Wang meets Conrad Grunewald.
This was a close one, and I thought it would need an OMT to settle, but the judges favored on the side of Conrad.
The next two cars to run were the RX7 of Ryuji Miki and the Mustang of Justin Pawlak. Miki can be a very tough tandem opponent, but JTP was able to get the best of him here.
It was Subaru vs. BMW next as Stephan Verdier went against Michael Essa.
Essa's fantastic weekend continued here, earning his first tandem victory behind the wheel of his new BMW.
The final match of the Top 32 saw Matt Powers facing Robbie Nishida in the debut battle for the Hankook GT-R.
Surprisingly, the two Nissans were very evenly matched against each other – making for one of closest battles of the day.
After an OMT run, it was eventually Robbie and the GT-R that would move on. Matt drove the hell out of his car, but his weekend would end here.
Yikes that was a lot to cover. Top 16 action coming up next!