Events: Formula Drift Round 3 at Palm Beach International Raceway - Top 16 June 05 2012, 0 Comments

The 3rd round of Formula D in Palm Beach, Florida had to be the most unpredictable yet exciting round. Last season, the track layout was changed last minute due to some safety precessions taken by the FD crew. This year, you never really knew who had this years track layout figured out so it made for some exciting battles. If you came in to fast or had to much angle, there was a good chance you might just run right into the tire wall. So onto the top 16 action after the jump. Vaughn Gittin jr Monster Energy Falken Tire Mustang vs michael Essa bmw z4 photo by Kyle McManus First up was Vaughn Gittin Jr and Michael Essa. JR's season had not really taken off until this round as he qualified first the day before and Essa was coming off a great performance at round 2 in Atlanta. They both seemed to have their cars setup perfectly. In the first run JR came in fast and aggressive. Michael had a hard time staying close to him giving chase. Vaughn Gittin jr Monster Energy Falken Tire Mustang vs michael Essa bmw z4 photo by Kyle McManus On the second run Michael threw his car in the first corner and probably had the most insane entry I have seen. He was pretty much looking back at JR. Unfortunately it was a little too aggressive and Michael ended up spinning out. JR advances. Fatlace Walker Wilkerson vs justin jtp pawlak ford mustang Next up was Walker Wilkerson and JTP. Walker also had an exciting round 2 in ATL. As JTP gave chase, he was literally on Walkers door. On the second run, Walker was unable to match JTP's angle, speed, and smoke. Formula Drift round 3 palm beach international raceway Chelsea DeNofa BMW While Odie 350z nissan Following JTP's win over walker was Odie Bakchis and Chelsea DeNofa. While Odie was leading in the first run, Chelsea was right next to him, never letting him gain any distance from him. On the second run Chelsea ended up being to quick for Odie and advanced. Darren McNamara falken 350z vs Daigo Saito Formula Drift round 3 Palm Beach International Raceway Photo by Kyle McManus Darren McNamara had to go up against the crowd favorite, Daigo Saito. Diago practically mirrored every move Darren made as he went thru the course. Darren McNamara falken 350z vs Daigo Saito Formula Drift round 3 Palm Beach International Raceway Photo by Kyle McManus On the second run Darren could not match the smoke machine and Daigo Saito advanced. Kenneth Moen and Ken Gushi scion FRS photo by Kyle McManus After the smoke cleared, it was Kenneth Moen and Ken Gushi's turn. Their first run was perfect. Their second run had the judges split on who won. After they talked for a while they decided to do a One More Time. Kenneth Moen and Ken Gushi scion FRS photo by Kyle McManus On this run Gushi came in super aggressive and ended up plowing into the back of Moen. Chris Forsberg NOS Nissan 370Z and Toshiki Yoshioka Nissan VQ S15 photo by Kyle McManus Chris Forsberg and Toshiki Yoshioka's runs were a true match of NA vs Turbo engines. on the first run Forsberg managed to pull away from Yoshioka and his VQ S15. Chris Forsberg NOS Nissan 370Z and Toshiki Yoshioka Nissan VQ S15 photo by Kyle McManus On the second run Chris Forsberg would not let Toshiki Yoshioka get more than a foot away from him. photo by Kyle McManus Vaughn Gittin JR vs Justin Pawlak Ford Mustang Following Dai Yoshihara's win over Robbie Nishida, JR was paired against his teammate JTP. JR managed to pull away from JTP at the start. On the second run JR was door to door with JTP. It was too close to call a winner. The judges decided to do a one more time. Formula Drift Round 3 at Palm Beach International Raceway. Photos by Kyle McManus JTP was not making it easy for JR to walk away with a victory this time. On the next run while JTP was leading JR tapped JTP and broke part of his suspension which allowed JTP to advance. Formula Drift Round 3 at Palm Beach International Raceway. Photos by Kyle McManus Following JTP and JR's fight to make it into the top four, the local favorite Chelsea DeNofa was put up against Daigo Saito. Chelsea was all over Saito....maybe a little to close. Formula Drift Round 3 at Palm Beach International Raceway. Photos by Kyle McManus After he hit Daigo and jumped in to the air, he landed on his subframe and cracked it, as well as bending a wheel. Formula Drift Round 3 at Palm Beach International Raceway. Photos by Kyle McManus After they cleaned up the track Forsberg had to fight off Moen in his TT 350z. Formula Drift Round 3 at Palm Beach International Raceway. Photos by Kyle McManus Forsberg ended up being too much for Moen to handle. Chris Forsberg advanced. Formula Drift Round 3 at Palm Beach International Raceway. Photos by Kyle McManus Dai Yoshihara really knows how to apply the pressure when needed. Formula Drift Round 3 at Palm Beach International Raceway. Photos by Kyle McManus In the end, Dai defeated Ryan Tuerck to make it into the Final Four. Formula Drift Round 3 at Palm Beach International Raceway. Photos by Kyle McManus The only way for JTP to get into the top three was if he knocked out Daigo. He went all out on his first run. Putting a good amount of distance between him and Daigo. On their final run, JTP came in a little too hot causing him to spin out and lose his chance of three consecutive podium finishes. Formula Drift Round 3 at Palm Beach International Raceway. Photos by Kyle McManus This began the fight for 1 place. First up was Dai Yoshihara and Chris Forsberg. Forsberg advanced and Dai headed for a 3rd place battle. Formula Drift Round 3 at Palm Beach International Raceway. Photos by Kyle McManus Dai Yoshihara With Dai losing to Chris, he had to go against JTP once more for third place. JTP was not able to match Dai in the end, giving Dai third place. Chris Forsberg Nissan 370z  vs Dai Yoshihara Lexus Formula Drift Round 3 at Palm Beach International Raceway. Photos by Kyle McManus With the final fight set, it was time to get to work. Chris Forsberg was the lead car for the first run. Daigo managed to stay really close to Chris and apply as much pressure as possible. Formula Drift Round 3 at Palm Beach International Raceway. Photos by Kyle McManus With Daigo having a small advantage going into the final round he let everything hang out. Tons of speed, angle, and smoke. Formula Drift Round 3 Podium at Palm Beach International Raceway. Photos by Kyle McManus In the end Daigo Saito came out on top for his first Formula D win. Not to bad for a Formula D "rookie". See everyone in New Jersey for Round 4. - Kyle Photos by Kyle McManus