Formula Drift kicked off it’s tenth season in Long Beach, California. It was another amazing event with over 50 drivers competing to a sold out crowd! Competition was fierce with Dai Yoshihara not only qualifying in first place, but coming out victorious – with Vaughn Gittin JR in second and Chris Forsberg in third. More Formula Drift Round 1 action after the jump!
Top 16 competition included Matt Powers going against the 2011 champ Dai Yoshihara in an S14 vs S13 battle. After two good run’s Dai took the win.
Both Aasbo and 2012 FD champion Daigo Saito were on top of their game with very close runs. They ended up going “One More Time” twice… so two more times.
After 3 almost perfect battles, Daigo had a small correction on the last clipping point and it cost him the win. Aasbo moved on to the Great Eight.
Another driver on top of his game was Chelsea DeNofa back in his BMW E46 after switching to the Nitto RX8 mid season last year. DeNofa was put against Ryan Kado in the Top 16 and was able to squeeze out a victory. This put DeNofa in the Great Eight in only his second year driving in Formula Drift. Impressive.
Chris Forsberg in his NOS Energy 370Z was up against Darren McNamara in the Falken Tire S14. The 2009 champ Chris Forsberg came out on top in that exchange and moved on to the great eight.
Justin Pawlak, winner of last season’s round 1, was up against Ryan Tuerck in the new Retaks FRS. There were high hopes for Justin to win the event since it would have made it his third consecutive win in Long Beach. Justin had also come back from a big wreck he had during qualifying. Ryan Tuerck was on point and ended up earning the win. Justin Pawlak was out.
Here’s a shot of Justin’s Falken Ford Mustang after taking a nose dive into the wall during qualifying. The Falken team did an awesome job to get Justin back on the track in such a short time.
In the Great Eight, Aasbo was on fire after beating Daigo, but it wasn’t enough to beat Dai Yoshihara. Dai moved on to the final 4.
Ryan Tuerck went toe to toe with Drift Alliance friend, Chris Forsberg – Forsberg took the win and moved on the final 4!
Ken Gushi had a couple of great runs against Vaughn Gittin JR, but Gittin’s ASD Monster Energy Nitto Tire Ford Mustang was too much for the Goosh to handle. Gittin moved on to the final 4.
In the final 4 battle between Chelsea and Dai, experience took the wheel. Dai beat Chelsea and moved on to fight for the number one spot on the podium. Chelsea would be fighting for third place.
In the final 4, Gittin was on a row and was able to beat Chris Forsberg. He then set his eyes on the 1st place carbon fiber trophy. Forsberg was put against, and eventually winning over Chelsea DeNofa for the third place spot.
But Dai Yoshihara had other plans for Vaughn. Dai wins the first place spot giving Vaughn Gittin second place.
And it was champagne showers for the winners and umbrella girls. Congrats to Dai, Vaughn, and Chris for their podium finishes.
A big thank you to Formula Drift for having us out and to everyone who came by the tent! We hope you had a chance to grab some gear – if not, make sure to check out the WMD online store! See you in Atlanta for round 2! – Alex