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?