After an exciting final, the tire smoke has settled and the Formula D Asian series has a new champion, Daigo Saito. On my way back home to Tokyo I had time to reflect on the time I have spent in Jakarta covering my very first Formula D round. Despite the series being still in its infancy in the South East Asian region compared to what it has become in the US, I came away pleasantly surprised and quite impressed by what I have seen. The organizers all worked so hard to make this last event of the season very special for spectators, drivers, teams and media alike. As I touched on in my first post the other day, it has all been quite the breath of fresh air for me personally, reinvigorating a somewhat spent appreciation for drifting that over the last few years has been made dormant by the repetitiveness of a series I have covered for way too long. I came away from it all with a big grin on my face, happy to realize that I still really like everything about drifting, be it the action, the atmosphere…
…and of course the cars. So let’s get into this short event report by taking a step back to Saturday morning, when before the qualifying session I had a little bit of time to walk around the paddock and take a look at some of the entries at the event. This is Alinka Hardianti’s A31, one of a bunch of Cefiros that were competing on the day.
Next to the RS-R Team and Fredric Aasbø’s Supra for the weekend was Non’s black S15 from Thailand…
…and further down the pits I found one of many Achilles tire supported cars, Rayhan Ally’s Cefiro.
Demas Agil’s E36 was one of the wildest Indonesian entries, certainly pretty unique from both the rear…
…as well as the front, wearing a pretty aggressively widened front and rear fenders. Before the qualifying kicked off I moved to the starting grid, to check the drivers getting ready…
…and, despite the ambient temperature well beyond the 30-degrees mark, getting the tires nice and hot either with burnouts or as demonstrated here by Indonesian driver Soni in his Cefiro, a perfectly executed donut!
The drivers lined up two by two behind the starting line…
…waiting their turn to head out and put on their best possible run…
…to score as high as possible with the judges.
Fredric was under a lot of stress, he was on board a car he had only ever driven in the morning’s practice runs and didn’t want to disappoint the RS-R Team members who had worked hard to prepare and set up the Supra to his liking.
I think Fredric is the type of guy that thrives under pressure, and you could really see the concentration in his eyes. We will be hearing what he had to say about his time in the Supra and with the RS-R guys, not to mention his first Formula D Asia round, in the next few days in a short interview I gave him.
After a quick burnout to bring up the Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 tires he was off, scoring 91 points, landing him in fourth position…
…right behind Robbie Nishida, who’s performance in his JZX100 yielded him 92 points.
Daigo, in his Lexus IS convertible looked extremely confident in practice, ploughing into the first corner with tons of angle, placing his rear bumper inches from the concrete walls…
…and smoking through his Achilles rubber…
…like no tomorrow.
He qualified in first place with 94 points, with Malaysian driver Djan and his RPS13 a close second with 93 points.
It was rally cool to finally meet the voice of Formula D, Jarod DeAnda, seen here armed with #IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER stickers!
In the afternoon the driver’s autograph session was set up in front of the Achilles tires stand, a chance for the fans to shake hands with their favorite drifters and get their hats and t-shirts signed.
The scorching heat meant that all the race queens, models, campaign girls…whatever you want to call them, were busy holding up umbrellas, shielding the drivers from the equatorial sun.
…and Robbie Nishida both drive for Team Achilles and were doing a good job of attracting fans to the booth.
Here is Ryan Sage, and Jarod posing with international model Jeri Lee who was doing her thing at the Drive M7 stand.
On to Sunday, the day of the competition, the dry and humid weather we had been having thus far was replaced with very wet conditions and even more humidity. After taking my cameras and lenses out of my bag it took a good ten minutes for the condensation on the elements to disappear…which did allow me to snap some pretty moody pictures. Minutes before this shot the track and pits were semi-submerged with torrential rain, so much water falling in such a short time that the morning practice was delayed until 12:30. By that time it was only sprinkling a bit…
…so the top 24 cars line up awaited their chance to sample the wet and slippery conditions.
Here is Robbie checking over his motor after his first outing.
Fredric looked right at home in the wet, yet another test of his skills, but one he dealt with without any issues. The Supra danced through the clipping points, that massive titanium exhaust amplifying the 2JZ’s scream.
Dika CH in his Team Achilles, R34-faced and tailed Cefiro was looking good out through the zero-grip corners, getting that long-wheelbase around some of the tighter corners without any issues.
Second place qualifier Djan had lost his rear bumper somewhere by this point, as he piloted his S15-faced RPS13 smoothly during the morning practice.
One of the things that really surprised me in Formula D was that there are no foam pads used along the walls and guard rails like there are at D1 rounds like Odaiba. One mistake and damage is unavoidable, the severity of which is directly proportional to the speed of impact. So with no soft barriers to cushion a mishap the divers have to be extra careful. To slow their trajectory down a little the judges had modified the course a little for the wet conditions, making the first and last turns a little tighter on exit. But seeing that with every pass the surface was drying the exit on the final turn was widened again so that drivers could stay on the gas for longer and really smoke their tires.
The day followed with a driver presentation, with all cars lined up in front of the grandstands and each driver introduced to the crowds.
Here is Ryan Davis of Yaer Productions posing with Ken Gushi. It was cool to finally meet the man behind the camera, especially as I have been watching his videos for a long time.
And so the battles began. Here is Malaysian driver Bulzai in his RPS13 against the Cefiro of Akbar Rais. Bulzai took the win and ended up going up against none other than…
…Daigo in the Best 16. He couldn’t stop the “unstoppable,” and lost out to the Japanese drifter.
With only a handful of places to shoot from at the makeshift course I decided to venture around to the initiation point, where after piling on the speed drivers start their drift.
Here is a wider look at the course, right after turn one where the drivers have to get back on the power and continue their drift through a tight second turn before throwing the car the opposite way and heading deep into the infield.
This is Indonesian driver Emanuel Amandio in his S15 demonstrating what “keeping the car close to the wall” means!
Much like Amandio the Japanese drivers like Ken, Daigo and Robbie seen here were really showing aggression when initiating, placing their rear bumpers right on the wall.
Ken however didn’t just do close, he did full on taps on a number of occasions, including this instance above where he bombarded my face with pieces of his driver-side taillight. Awesome stuff!
On his Best 4 battle Fredric went up against Joshua Boettcher from Australia, who was driving his GT Radial sponsored S15 Silvia. After a series of close runs it was Fredric that grabbed the win…
…progressing him straight into the semi-final against Daigo. On his leading run Saito managed to get a good start, allowing him to put some distance between his IS and the Supra. Fredric caught up and stayed glued to the Lexus throughout the rest of the run.
When leading Fredric gave it all he had, accelerating efficiently off the line and getting a good angle into turn one. Daigo managed to keep up…
…and chase closely, scoring higher with the judges and heading straight into the final…
…against Djan who had just beaten Robbie in his semi.
Saito knew that if he could put serious distance between himself and the Drive RPS13 he would get a good advantage straight away, and that is precisely what he did. His ability stay right up the door of the leading car in his chasing run allowed him to grab a clean win.
To settle the third place finisher Fredric and Robbie went up against each other and the Supra came out ahead putting the “Norwegian Hammer” on the podium for his first ever Formula D Asia round.
Each of the drivers took home one of those lovely carbon fiber Formula D trophies…
…with Daigo also grabbing the Formula D Asia championship. Daigo once again proves he is nothing short of unstoppable in the Formula D series, the question being, will someone be able to match him next year? It’s all set to become far more exciting in 2013 as Formula D Asia becomes more like “Formula D Australasia” with the first round planned to be held in Melbourne. This means there will be more drivers in the mix, more cars and some new rides from veteran teams.
Don’t forget to check below and download all your favorite desktops from this Formula D round in Jakarta!
-Dino Dalle Carbonare
Daigo has a habit of building sexy cars. His Chaser was crazy, then he built the FD Soarer. I thought that was it until this IS, goddamnnnnnnnnnnnnnn this thing is sexy. I want a feature lol, or a link to see more of this car.
Great panning Mr. Dino! Especially since I saw you shooting without mono/tripod. Many thanks for covering this event, and I wish you could come again to Indonesia to experience some more of our car culture :)
Would love to get more of FD Asia coverage next year though. Congrats Djan and lovin' this post of yours Dino. *^*b
Nice one dino. Hope you'll come back here again ;D. And in rayhan ally's ceffiro post there's my glidecam :p
watched this event live in ESPN... great drift action by all drifters... from Malaysia, well done to Prince of Drift - Djan...
..how come i didn't see you dino lol.. looking at your photos and comparing it with mine, i see the difference of amateurs and pros.. i gotta work harder hahaha
rkalski I'm pretty easy to spot, not sure why LOL. I was there from Thu onwards...
Daigo should come down to NZ and take on guys like Mad Mike Gaz Whiter Curt Whittiker and Fanga Dan at Puke with its 200kph initiation point....
Dramatic shots. And my goodness, the Lexus IS right there looks like a next gen IS.
I live in Jakarta and in my housing complex there is a Nissan Cefiro that looked like it had taken part of FD here. It is bearing the number '2' on the door panels, and it was silver and damaged, with visible Achilles sponsor decals and HIN City too (yes we have HIN City). It has been sitting there for a while and I was wondering anyone knows who was the drifter in that Cefiro.
somewhat biased write up as you only highlighted those usual drivers featured here. Tengku Djan Ley aka The Tandem Assassin aka The Prince of Drift definitely one of the best drifters in the world and can easily beat those in the US
phantom46 raulisfadzil Wouldn't say biased as it's my first time to FD, I hardly knew any of the drivers. I did follow the competition which means I did follow the guys that made it through! Let me know your thoughts of how I could have come up with a less "biased" post.
speedhunters_dino phantom46 raulisfadzil
fyi, djan is a drift icon in Malaysia... anyway, great coverage...
gOOsh speedhunters_dino phantom46 dino, maybe you should do a feature on him then. since you are based in japan, you should cover Malaysia as well. Tengku Djan Ley is a humble guy that has done a lot to promote this motorsport in Malaysia especially and south east asia region generally
raulisfadzil gOOsh phantom46 Would love to do something like that but Malaysia is a tad far...need budget;)
speedhunters_dino gOOsh phantom46 Malaysia is south to Thailand, north to Singapore, sandwiched in between Java and Borneo which are Indonesia. Can always ask Cheryl Tay, Speedhunters rep from Malaysia to do the feature but i prefer you since your write ups are more entertaining and your photos are simply perfect. Maybe not soon but one day perhaps
raulisfadzil gOOsh phantom46 and you do know that there two states in Borneo that belong to MALAYSIA as well, yes? Not all of Borneo is Indonesia.
Amazing coverage and phenomenal shots. The writing however, is plain awful.
Speedhunters is my first stop every morning, I'm a huge fan and I appreciate the diversity you cover. It kills me to see such a fantastic series of shots surrounded by typos, grammatical errors, and generally amateur writing. At the very least, these articles should be proofread.
Dino your panning skills are absolute mastery. A couple of the are down to 1/13. That's crazy stuff. Love the coverage you have here bud.
speedhunters_dino Good lord Dino. Is that shooting free hand or mono/tripod???? Your hit rate must be like 100/1..lol
BoostSA_Jason No I don't like monopods and I have to say I have never shot action with a tripod (thought only video guys did that?) Just need steady arms and strong shoulders I guess! Lay off the coffee too if you have the shakes lol
Heard rumours of a round being in australias next year, though the rumours placed it in sydney im happy to see it in melboutne, should near halve my trip to get there, And unrelated, what part of tokyo are you in dino
That was Great moment! Cool, i really love your photos sir :)
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