It was a real pity that Daigo Saito made a mistake in the first tsuiso battle of the D1 final in Fuji. His slight ten-point lead could have helped him out, but getting knocked out so early on in the day meant he automatically handed the championship over to Yoichi Imamura. With now four titles under his belt the Auto Produce Boss driver must be quite happy with himself!
Before the competition unfolded out on track…
…I took a quick walk through the display area in the paddock to see what was going on. After drooling over the R.Y.O Odyvia I’ve already posted a spotlight on, I just had to grab a few shots of this OGS Prius, running massive Ogura brakes and very sexy Yokohama RS-Ds. Hybrid tuning is something that seems to be enjoying a continuous rise in popularity and I’m sure we will see even more tuned eco-cars than usual at the 2012 Tokyo Auto Salon.
This BN Sports kitted FD belongs to the Drift Samurai and was on display at the Work wheels stand.
Naoto Suenaga has been doing really great this year, since jumping into Kuma’s old Evo IX. He was on a roll and managed to beat Nomuken in the Best 8 (which in new Di-lingo is called the second stage).
However his luck ran out in his next round, when he was up against his younger brother in the RE Amemiya RX8. He held an aggressive angle at the entrance of the corner but somehow spun the car on the exit.
Kawabata did an excellent job in his Best 8 battle against Imamura; it was definitely hard to choose who put down the best runs, but it was the 2011 Champion that made it through.
Imamura went on to beat Kunnyz, who had just come out of an easy tsuiso against Orido. As you can see Orido was not having a good day.
Before the final between Imamura and Masao Suenaga, the third place decider between Kunnyz and Naoto Suenaga was ran. It looked like the Team Orange driver had the upper hand after the big MarkX ran a little wide on the first pass.
But when chasing, Suenaga went in too fast, running wide and loosing the drift. Kunnyz took third spot and enough points to allow him to claim third position over all in the 2011 standings.
The final was a true show of skill as both drivers entered the judged corner with plenty of speed, both sticking to the perfect racing line…
…all the way through to the exit.
It was Imamura once again that impressed the panel of judges, grabbing yet another win!
When Mana-P announced the winner, Suenaga looked a little disappointed.
Imamura was first awarded the Fuji Round 8 1st position medal…
…and then the 2011 Series trophy. Congrats to him, Auto Produce Boss and the guys at Dunlop for putting together such an unbeatable team.
Saito came to congratulate Imamura and answer a few questions for the media.
So that’s it for another year. D1 will be back with the usual exhibition round at the Tokyo Auto Salon in January.
Until then, I’ll have to do my best to hunt down more local, grassroots drift events to keep the action flowing!
-Dino Dalle Carbonare