They say that drifting is a battle between two drivers, but this weekend at the second round of Formula Drift at Road Atlanta, Speedhunters drivers Fredric Aasbø and Vaughn Gittin Jr took that concept to another level. When they came up against each other, things didn’t go quite according to plan for either driver…
So we spoke to both drivers to get their sides of the story…
Vaughn: “I initiated along with Fredric, then all of a sudden the rear of his car was coming back towards me, rather then maintaining the angle we both initially tossed out. I tried to adjust to not hit him, that adjustment pulled me out of drift and because my wheels were counter steered, when the car gripped up we made contact. Once contact was made and I jumped his hood, the car landed with some momentum, I kicked the clutch and stayed in it completing the course. Remember drifting is about full commitment!”
Fredric: “The crash came down to me being a little too cautious (it started to rain again just before our battle and it was very difficult to predict the grip levels), and Jr went in a little too hot.”
Just looking at the above shot, it’s hard to believe either driver was able to get their car back into action on this corner. But they did…
… the pair continuing in style despite the best attempts of the cars to meld into one. Although both drivers are battling hard for points on the track, it’s obvious they both understand that sometimes things just don’t go according to plan in motorsport…
Vaughn: “After the run Frederic and I talked, He admitted his misjudged the course and went in too slow and apologized to me. I completely understand the challenge that was ahead of him leading first as the grip was very inconsistent given the on and off rain. Three options would have happened given the scenario and no way to test the track due to FD rules: it could have been too slick and he could have landed in the kitty litter or he could have guessed perfect OR exactly what happened (coming up short). He chose the safest smartest route and the significant grip the track still had caught him out, and then me, because I was doing my job which is to follow the lead car.”
Fredric: “Where I would have liked to have done a better job is somehow gathered more information about the conditions – right there and then – so I could have trusted a faster and later initiation.”
Vaughn was given a zero for the run and after some frantic repairs, the pair went at it again, but Fredric’s third gear broke mid-run, straightening him out and losing that round…
Fredric: “But in light of Jr being awarded a zero for that run, we actually had a good scope of walking away with it. Hence, the deal breaker was me breaking my transmission and straightening out in the second run. We were two turns away from finishing. Having to really, REALLY push the extremely powerful tC in fourth (instead of third) I ended up spinning the tires way too much in the re-runs, and we lost.”
So was there any hard feelings between the two? Not at all…
Fredric: “All in all, it turned out to be a great story with very little damage – it looked a lot worse than it was. The incident made me smile – in a slightly morbid way – and the fact that we just continued the runs fueled on adrenaline and pure will made it so much cooler. ”
Vaughn: “I have huge respect for Fredric and his team. They could have taken the easy way out and just said they couldn’t fix the car, but instead they wanted to battle it out. I am pretty impressed that I jumped his car,and was able to hold it together and complete the course. I am also impressed that Fredric didn’t even seem to miss a beat and continued the battle! Just goes to show the commitment we both have out there!”
So, what do you think? Would you have judged the outcome any differently?
I cant express my opinion over the story the drivers tell, they have the real view from their seats, while all of us just can see through a screen or meters away, but, vaughn was, overall a little agressive that day! If you guys check on the runs of the same day he made lots of close calls, and had a spun against daigo... it seemed he was overdoing it a little
And, Aasbo is a real gentleman, he should have earned extra points for true sportsmanship!
no idea how assbo didnt win this. what gitten was saying was a joke, assbo blaming himself was a joke andFD is joke. bring back jap coverage!
If anything this round win should have gone to Aasbo, but FD is all up on Gittins D**K.
If they would use D1 rules it's the followers responsibility to adapt to whatever the leading driver does without hitting anyone, even when the leading driver does a mistake.
Everyone gets on J.R for what he did but he didn't do it intentionally. It rained right after they battled so it was hard to estimate the grip on the cars so he thought he had no grip and gripped up on entry. Don't you guys ever think of the conditions before you start bashing on a driver? Maybe thats what the judges had in consideration of the call.
This is racing, JR did a mistake, Fredric lost third geard.Both are 100% comited to the sport and are polite in the media.
In the OMT JR dit two bether runs against Aasbo.
About the crash, the thing i didnt like was that he did not stop, what if there was any oil / water on the track? it would have broken the rest og the competition by no grip on the track. Hold stumt Fredric :)
"Would you have judged the outcome any differently?"
Hell YEAH! Vaughn Gittin JR shoul be DQ easy.
He just wants to teach Aasbo who's boss in USA. In USA the redneck wants to be boss and dont know how to lose.
Frederick would kick ass and its NOT intimidated by JR.
So, watch out junior :))))
I don't like all the hate going on here. Yeah it's the Internet and we're all entitled to our own opinion but shit happens! People make mistakes in motorsport, especially when its a bit greasy, they just got on with what they were there to do and didn't make a big deal out of it, props to them for that =)
JR is "pretty immpressed" by himself. Wow, what a great man.
Frederic - you are waaaay too polite with JR.
i personally found Gittin guilty of causing the accident small correction or not (it happens). Moreover, his response after climbing the TC's hood of just laying on it as well as placing the blame on Aasbo in this article reflects on my theory of Gittin possessing an overtly dominant personality. (first noticed article http://www.speedhunters.com/2013/01/mustang-rtr-dream-drive-vaughn-rod-and-larry/) that being said, they are both incredibly talented and competitive drivers; not to mention Aasbo is one stand up dude. looking forward to more entertainment.
@speedhunters.... This was a great in-depth story, but am I the only one wondering why after 4 days and 2 posts from Atlanta, there has been no mention of Daigo Saito winning this event? I mean, I love this site, I spread the word religiously, but something seems missing from the auto otaku days. Not to mention, do you guys cover Japanese drifting at all anymore?
I don't care who did what, I just love how calm & friendly both drivers are about it. THAT is what's important.
Vaughn Gittin made a mistake, as simple as that. Aasbo watching from the video stayed on his line, and Gittin just temporarely lost control and hit Aasbo.
What baffles me is not so much the error (we all make mistakes), it's the fact that Gittin believes he's right, AND the judges allowed Gittin to go on.
That IMO is unacceptable! In Japan/ D1 accidents like that occurred in the past. Whoever hit first, got disqualified, simple.
I've been watching it quite some times now. It's obvious that Fredric hat to "reinitiate" and therefore twitched a little but he never came close or seriously "threatened" Vaughns line. To me Vaughn overcorrected in a rush and simply lost it. Those things happen and there's no one to be blamed. This could have been fairly settled with a 0 for Vaughn and no OMT. Fredrics reaction was noble and worthy of the "drift codex" ;)
I think the leader of a run should set the pace. It is easy for the follower to just enter as fast as he pleases but as the article alludes, the leader has to try to feel out the available grip. In this case JR was too blindly aggressive and puts more blame on Aasbo even though he doesnt say it outright. It's not exactly a fair comparison but in principle it is similar to the pregrid lap in F1 or a safety car period. The leader is entitled to set the pace and if someone crashes into the leader they will likely get a penalty. But in Formula Drift, I guess it is different
I think Vaughn is a real douche. I mean, his comment: "...Fredric continued driving, shows the commitment we BOTH have".Like it was pretty obvious that he showed full commitment himself. He has one hell of an ego, and I don't think that's the spirit in drifting.
Better graphics on the Scion. Winner in my book. Oh yeah and the driving was superior. Drifting is way more interesting than oval track races or drag races.
JR is always full of excuses. It was his fault plain and simple, Fredric is just being a nice guy that he is.
well, the 'climbing' part reminds me of this tho
Seems like we all jumped to conclusions and just wanted to ride the next hype with all the Vaughn memes.
Way too much tire smoke...can't see anything and looks rather silly to be honest.
The Togue battles from Best Motoring etc. are much more entertaining; no smoke, but still lot's of sideways actions.
In the pictures this 'drifting' looks impressive, but in video, well, it's rather boring...
Watching the video it's pretty clear that Aasbos' car was not coming back towards JR once they started drifting. This is why I don't watch drifting at all. Went to the first D1GP event in the US and that was it. It's not a legitimate form of motor sport in my opinion.
JR clearly causes a crash, right then and there he should be DQ'd but not in the world of drifting! Gotta love it...
honestly i pissed off when i saw that and JR gets the win. i don't understand, but this is judge game, let the judge choose:)
Jr. really butchered that entry, it looked like he was feinting to make a right turn, not a left. If he went slow, he went slow, followers are to supposed to follow, not crash into the leader and then complain that they went too slow :/
All I've heard or seen from JR is that it's all Aasbo's fault, not once saying that it's partly his fault. Not very respectable. I'm rooting more for Aasbo or anybody else going against JR.