A championship isn’t won in the final rounds, but it most certainly can be lost.
We’ve just wrapped Thursday practice at the sixth round of the 2017 Formula Drift championship at Evergreen Speedway, north of Seattle. Going into this event, the title race is still technically wide open, but I think that in reality, there are three main contenders.
At the top of the standings, in his first full Formula Drift season, is James Deane. With two wins so far in 2017, Deane has been top of the points standings since round three at Atlanta. It’s more than he ever could have dreamed of, considering that this year was intended as a recce year for the Worthouse Drift Team.
The man who has been slowly chipping away at Deane’s lead, and the only other driver to win two events this season, is former champion, Fredric Aasbø. Again, he’s another driver who maybe didn’t expect to be in the fight at this stage of the season having only debuted his new – and quite unconventional – Corolla iM in Long Beach this year.
He might be more than double the distance back again from Deane, but if there’s one outside who cannot be dismissed, it’s Latvian Kristaps Bluss. His HGK Motorsport E46 has been through the wars this season, but his consistent results, including three consecutive podium finishes, have kept him in the fight.
He’s still chasing his first win in Formula Drift, but he’s certainly knocking on the door of it. His super aggressive driving style, backed up with a killer instinct, makes him a joy to watch on track.
While others are still in with a chance – I think about as far down as Odi Bakchis in 8th would be the wildest outside bet – there are plenty who can still play havoc with the battle for the championship. Outside the top 10 standings are the likes of Matt Field, Chris Forsberg, Chelsea Denofa and Justin Pawlak to name but a few. All are perfectly capable of taking a win this weekend and taking valuable points from the championship contenders.
The championship won’t be won this weekend, but a win for Deane, Aasbø or Bluss would go a long way towards that ultimate prize. On the other hand, a poor performance could be devastating for their title hopes. I’ll be continuing our exclusive behind the scenes coverage with the Worthouse Drift Team this weekend, while also sending daily galleries to our Facebook and Instagram accounts.
The question is, who’s your money on?
I said one probably the first FD article, that it would be nigh impossible to beat Deane on skill alone. I bet you a Speedhunters sticker that unless something goes wrong for him, he'll win it.
Then I want a speedhunters sticker,
Honestly I would love to see it be either Deane or Bluss for sure. More so for Bluss, being the underdog and what not.
I can't even relate to any circuit drifting. I guess coming from the streets and seeing all these cars that 99.9% of the drift crowd will never be able to afford. since it was all shade tree and buddies getting together daily to fix cars for drifting on a budget its pretty much perverse. I don't know a single person who said I want to drift for a living.
I really hope Chelsea figured out that is better to go 70% rather then 110%. I'm a fan of him becouse of his wildness on the track but I want to see him start winning. Also, it would be awsome to see Bluss win. Can't wait for the main event. Keep up the good work Paddy
Saw you at the event @Paddy, wished I could've said hi but you were busy with James and Piotr. Oh well, maybe next year!
My only wish is to see an entire FD season's championship chase come down to the final battle at FD Irwindale between the top 2 guys in the running. Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps. One day...
This season has been one of the most exciting for years, hands down, thanks to the European invasion.