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Event: Formula Drift Round 7 in Irwindale – Daigo Saito Makes FD History

Daigo Saito

If you ever want to prove to your friends or doubters in general that Drifting is a big deal, there’s no better place to take them than the final round of Formula Drift at the house of drift! It was another exciting and dramatic round at Irwindale Speedway where after many twists and turn in events, FD rookie Daigo Saito came out on top of not only round 7 but the over all series. Daigo has been the talk of the series since round one in Long Beach. Some of that talk has been a mixture of bad and good as some of the FD drivers are not too fond of Daigo’s style. But love him or hate him, Daigo made history this past weekend by becoming the first FD rookie to win the Formula Drift Championship. A few highlights of the night after the jump.

Once Top 16 began, things got crazy complicated right off the bat when 2011 champ took him self out of the equation by spinning out against Pat Mordaunt. After some wiz kid style math by the guys in the judges booth, it was said JR was still in the running for the championship depended on the outcome of a couple of other battles.

One of those battles was an amazing one between Daigo and Matt Field. After a one more time, Daigo advanced to the final four against Rhys “Mad Skills” Millen.

Rhys Millen Hyundai Genesis Formula Drift Enkei PF01

Rhys Millen who qualified 1st and was on fire the entire weekend put him within striking distance of the Formula Drift championship but…

…after an exciting lead run Rhys put his Hyundai Genesis into the wall to give Daigo the win. The jumbotron showed a disappointed Vaughn Gittin JR as I’m sure he seen his chances of a second Championship tittle slipping away.

enkei pf01

Rhys Millen’s orange Enkei PF01 bouncing across track. This was a pretty common sight after every other run so the clean up crew was busy throughout the night.

With Rhys Millen not being able to continue to fight for third, it automatically gave Ryan Tuerck the 3rd place spot on the podium. After this victory lap by Tuerck, it was time for the final battle between Justin Pawlak and the “rookie” Daigo Saito.

Justin Pawlak Falken Tire Mustang ASD Formula Drift

I know I’m going to sound like a broken record but after a solid lead run by Justin…

You guessed it. He hit the wall during his chase giving Daigo Saito the win and awarding Daigo enough points to win the championship. A dramatic finish to an excellent 2012 season.

Congratulations to Ryan Tuerck for winning 3rd, JTP for 2nd and Daigo Saito for winning 1st and of course the overall championship.

Since Daigo speaks as much English as I do Japanese, he has connected with fans the old fashion way, using his SC430 and of course his driving skills. Congratulations Daigo Saito. – Alex

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