Things already felt a bit strange at Las Vegas Motorspeedway when the qualifying results were posted. The top qualifiers weren’t the usual suspects as there was a slight change in the guard. Many people were guessing that the old guard would take back their old stomping grounds in the top 32 and beyond, but no one would’ve guessed that the new kids on the block would put up such a good fight.
So with that, let’s take a look at the Top 32.
The first battle of the Top 32 was with the number 1 qualifier, Matt Powers and the 32nd qualifier, Jeff Jones.
Jeff Jones went off into the tire wall on both of the runs…
…which gave Matt Powers and easy victory.
Next up was Fredric Aasbo battling Matt Field. Matt led the first run with a huge entry, but on the second run, went into the tire wall while following Aasbo.
Then it was Conrad Grunewald and Matt Waldin’s turn. Conrad had a great entry into the first corner on his lead run, Waldin tried to follow the best he could but spun.
After all the going ons with team Falken during the Las Vegas weekend, everyone was keen on seeing how Tyler McQuarrie would do driving the old Falken S15 again. Unfortunately, in his top 32 battle with Ken Gushi, Tyler spun giving Ken Gushi the go ahead to move on to the top 16.
The Canadian rookie, Alex Lee went up against one of the one of the many Formula D titans of titans, Chris Forsberg. Lee unfortunately straightened out, handing the victory over to Forsberg.
Ryan Tuerck vs Charles Ng. Sloppy runs from both drivers, with Ryan Tuerck progressing through.
In the battle between Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Cyrus Martinez, Vaughn laid down two solid runs which Cyrus could not out run or keep up with.
Next up was Darren McNamara vs Kyle Pollard. Darren put down his usual extremely solid and fast runs. Kyle tried his best to keep up but straightened out.
It was a battle of the titans. Three Formula Drift championships are shared between Sam Hubinette and Rhys Millen. The judges couldn’t decide and called for a one more time.
Things were much more clear cut on the OMT battle. The judges favored the much smoother and consistent Rhys Millen.
Pat Mordaunt doesn’t seem to be having the best of luck this season. But in his top 32 battle with Dean Kearney, luck seemed to have favored him with him making it throught ot the Top 16.
Next up was Dennis Mertzanis and Kyle Mohan. Dennis put up a good fight but in the end the judges gave the win to Kyle.
It was great to see new faces on the Formula D circuit. Even when they’re in familiar cars, like with Indonesian driver Emmanuel Armandio, who purchased Chris Forsberg’s old championship winning 350Z. In his top 32 battle with Michael Essa, Armandio drove the car a bit too hard wile leading and parked the car into the wall.
Robbie Nishida seemed to have awakened and has performed impressively in the past few events. Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep it up when he went up against Justin Pawlak, who was driving McQuarrie’s 350Z. The judges favored JTP’s performance and awarded him with the victory.
Otto Graven and Odi Bakchis are two drivers that have impressed both the paddock and the fans of FD. In the battle between the two, Otto straightened which gave Odi the victory.
Odi is currently in the points lead for Rookie of the Year, with this move into the Top 16 extending his advantage over rival Walker Wilkerson.
The second to last batt was between Ross Petty and Daijiro Yoshiara. Ross could not keep up with the solid driving and consistency from Dai, with the judges giving the nod to the Japanese drifter.
The last battle of the Top 32 pitted Ryan Kado against Toshiki Yoshioka. Like Robbie Nishida, Yoshioka has also been impressing people with his performance as of late. He laid down two extremely solid runs.
Next, we will be looking at the top 16 battles and beyond.