Following the very wet and slippery D1 Round 1 on Saturday, Sunday couldn’t have been more different with stunning blue skies highlighting the beautiful backdrop of Tokyo city. The D1 Champions exhibition would be a chance for the foreign drivers to prove themselves against the top D1 drivers, and entertain the sold-out stands filled with crowds craving some smoke-filled action.
Eight initial battles would put the eight foreign entrants against the lower Top 8 D1 pros, with the winners going on to meet the Top 8 drivers. The competition would then continue on in regular format as any other D1 round. Mad Mike, after not making it through on Friday due to a misunderstanding on what actual line the judges were looking for…
…could no longer wait to have a go in his brand new Japbull FD, built in collaboration with TCP Magic down in Hiroshima. The car may be down in power compared to the Madbull but it sounded amazing even sporting some a pretty restrictive exhaust system which is required for the Odaiba round where strict city noise regulations have to be enforced.
The day started off with the usual presentation of the drivers; here is Suenaga from Team Orange in his Evo X. See what I mean about the backdrop…you can even spot a little bit of the Rainbow Bridge!
As usual before things get busy on track I like to wonder around and check out some of the vendor booths, and take a look at what I missed the previous day under the torrential rain. Blitz have gotten their hand on a new 86 and their demo car was already fitted BRW Profile wheels…
…and a Nür-Spec exhaust system with titanium tail pipes. I will have to add this to one of the many 86s that I will have to feature in the next months!
The mean as hell 1200HP Trust R35RX was literally scaring away people with its red-chrome vinyl treatment, highlighting the impossibly original lines of the Ben Sopra aero conversion!
A stop by Tomei Powered is always a necessity just to see the latest products they have been working on. On top of the continuously expanding Expreme Ti titanium exhaust line up…
…they also had some Haltech ECUs from Australia on display. In fact some Haltech representatives came over to Japan to introduce their feature-packed engine management systems to the Japanese tuners and fitting their top of the line unit into the Cyber Evo. Tarzan and the Unlimited Works guys aren’t taking any chances and prepping the Evo so that it can defend its WTAC Champion title once again at the 2012 WTAC!
Here is another car I was really hoping to see in action at Odaiba. It came as a bit of a surprise to hear that the Drift Samurai would be retiring his FC and stepping into something completely different. Apparently the Friday practice and qualify didn’t go too well and the car spent the rest of the weekend on display at the Toyo Tires booth. All these new cars this year are really injecting the boost of diversity that D1 has really been lacking over the last few seasons. Good on you Samurai!
You will have to take my word when I say the Japbull looks even more menacing in real life, that TCP Magic widebody aero injecting a modern feel into the FD’s lines.
It’s however under the hood where things get interesting. The NA 4-rotor is nothing short of a masterpiece, so compact and sitting so low in the chassis with those upturned intake tracts. Mike will be trying to make as many D1 rounds as possible this year, so hopefully we will see this thing in action again soon.
I love big cars, especially when they pack some serious power and I have to say that Kunny’s Do-Luck tuned MarkX is one of my favorite right now. This thing lights up the rear wheels with such ease, it usually ends up disappearing in its own cloud of smoke when out on track!
Suenaga and the rest of the Team Orange guys put on a little drift exhibition during the lunch break, which explains why he is wearing a samurai outfit!
Random Darth Vader and some Storm Troopers patrolling the paddock. Makes no sense, but the best thing to do is to accept it and not question it, again like lots of other seemingly random things in Japan.
It’s not only the drivers that people line up to take pictures of!
One of the first battles of the day was that of Federico Sceriffo and Ueno. The close to 1000 HP of the 2JZ-powered BMW gave Ueno the advantage on corner entry but Federico soon caught up with his nimble Impreza. Still the judges chose Ueno as the winner.
The other Team Orange foreign driver was Jake Jones, who like Federico found himself up against a big 2JZ-powerd machine, Tokita’s Bee-R Zero Crown. A few mistakes cost him the battle, Tokita moving onto the next Best 16 battles against the top D1 drivers.
I have never seen a Genesis on the street, let alone tuned and set up for drift so this battle between Kim Sang Jin and Orido was quite fun to watch. Kim did good keeping up with the V8 86 but the judges ruled in favor of Orido.
Everyone heard Mad Mike’s 4-rotor Japbull way before it even entered the track, that unmistakable scream resonating through the surrounding buildings. Mike seems to go full out or nor go at all, which is a great thing for those watching.
In his battle against Tezuka he was doing great, managing to keep nice and close during his chasing run…
…until the very end of the course where there was a small contact between the two cars and Tezuka ended up hitting the guard rail, damaging his front suspension and almost ripping the wheel off. Mike kept glued to Tezuka as they swung round the final turn, keeping hard on the power when all of a sudden Tezuka backed off causing Mike to hit the side of the R34 GT-R. Mike won the battle but he ended up being disqualified.
The GT-R was forklifted back to the pits where Imai-san from Bee-R was waiting to check the damage. He is already busy fixing up the car this week.
Out of all eight battles, only Oat from Thailand and Atsu from Taiwan managed to pass through to the second Best 16 and from there it was business as usual for the Japanese drivers who had to put on a great exhibition tournament for the crowds, starting off with this intense battle between Kumakubo and Tokita. No that is what I call close!!
Kumakubo took the win as he was just killing it with his Laurel this weekend!
When it comes to epic battles you can’t really get better than seeing Taniguchi against Orido! These are two of the best drivers in Japan and seeing them go up against each other was nothing short of awesome. Orido’s 86 was performing great and it allowed him to take the win and move up to Best 8.
Once the Best 16 battles were over the top four foreign drivers went up against each other in a mini tournament to determine who the best driver on the day was. Here is Federico Sceriffo up against Non from Thailand who was driving Saito’s old JZX90 Cresta; a great battle with plenty of close driving and it was the Italian driver that moved onto the final.
It was then Jake Jones’ turn as he went up against James Tang from Hong Kong in TRC with FNATZ Aristo. Jake had the better and cleaner line and did well in his chasing run allowing him to move into the final…
…against Federico. Team Orange Impreza against Team Orange Impreza. I have got to give it to these guys, both driving in a foreign country, on a new track and behind the wheel of cars they were both borrowing they both went hard and clean all the way…
…in some of the closest racing on the day.
Federico was declared the winner and was ecstatic with his result making his trip quite the successful one!
Taiwanese driver Atsu was on excellent form behind the wheel of his Nichiei Racing S14 and did great up against Orido. However the battle was soon over when the V8 in the Scorch Racing-built 86 gave up, ending Orido’s day. Before heading back to the pits Orido thanked the crowds and announced that the car will be fixed and ready to go for the Suzuka round next month!
And so it’s on to the best battle of the day, or should I say the three best battles of the day as the judges kept calling for Kumakubo and Sakuma for “Sudden Death” runs…
…as they tried to decide who had the advantage. In the end, after some of the best drifting we had seen all weekend, Sakuma made it through to the semi final…
…where he went head to head with his teammate Kawabata. Kawabata, following his crash in the previous day’s warm up session, was just not having a good weekend. Sakuma took the win and it was straight to the final for him…
…where he had to see it off with Koguchi who had managed to come in second place on Saturday’s Round 1. Koguchi seems to have found the ideal car because he was driving the Auto Produce Boss S15 flawlessly.
He was awarded the win and proceeded to literally shower Mana P with the whole contents of his champagne bottle!
Top drive from Koguchi who secured 23 points for his second position in Saturday’s round 1 and took home a nice trophy on Sunday exhibition. I hope you have enjoyed the D1 coverage, next up will be a selection of desktops including some “splash drift” images from Saturday! Don’t miss them!
-Dino Dalle Carbonare