Formula Drift: Michael Essa Crowned 2013 FD Champion & Daigo Saito Wins Rnd 7

The 2013 10th Anniversary Formula Drift season ended at Irwindale Speedway in front of a sold out crowd this past weekend! Essa would ultimately end up winning the championship and Daigo would win round 7. But, not before a bit of a controversy. MICHAEL ESSA 2013 FORMULA DRIFT CHAMPION IRWINDALE The controversy unfolded as soon as top 32 began. Essa qualified first, and would compete against the 32nd place qualifier Luke Pakula. Essa blows his engine during his lead run and from my understanding, Luke Pakula's AE86 looses a couple of gears in his transmission. Essa calls 5 minutes and fafdsaf bows out, handing Essa the win. This put Essa in Top16 giving him enough points to basically win the championship as long as Forsberg didn't place any higher than 3rd place. There was, and still seems to be, some confusion on who informed who and when they informed them they could not continue. Forsberg's team protested the call but the ruling stood that Essa would move on to Top16. This left Essa in the media pits to bite his nails and hope Forsberg gets knocked out ASAP! Irwindale Daigo Saito Top 16: Would begin with a Daigo Vs Essa. Obviously, Essa would not make to the line; handing Daigo the win and moving him into the Great 8. Formula Drift Odi Backhis and Chris Forsberg Irwindale 2013 Top 16: Chris Forsberg Vs Odi Backhis. Both have good lead and follow runs making it too close to call. At this point, I'm sure there was extra pressure on the judges to make an accurate judgment so they called for a one more time battle. Forsberg would end up winning the One More time and moving on to the Great 8. Essa's championship dream was still in the hands of Forsberg. Formula_Drift_Irwindale_2013_3 Top 16: Ken Gushi Vs Kearney. Kearney would end up moving on to the Great 8. Formula_Drift_Irwindale_2013_dmac Top 16: Robbie Nishida Vs DMAC. Robbie Nishida would move on to the Great 8 to compete agains fellow teammate Daigo Saito. Formula_Drift_Irwindale_2013_kato Top 16: Vaughn Gittin JR Vs Ryan "The Kid" Kado. Vaughn Gittin has a good lead run, Kato follows close but has some mechanical issues giving Gittin the win. Forrest Wang and Matt Field s13 s14 Formula Drift Irwindale battle Top 16: Matt Field Vs Forrest Wang. This was a very even and exciting battle. Matt Field hit a clipping point handing the win over to Wang. Forrest Wang would be put up against Vaughn Gittin JR in the Great 8! Irwindale Formula Drift Top 16: Ryan Tuerck Vs Fredrick Aasbo. Tuerck would lead first. Aasbo hit the wall right after initiation but catches up to Tuerck. Tuerck has the advantage going into the second run but falls behind in his chase run and straitens up towards the end resulting in a 0 from the judges. Formula_Drift_Irwindale_2013_aasbo_2 They have a rematch and it's still too close to call - judges call for another one more time. Aasbo ends up getting the win after 3 battles. daigo saito vs chris forsberg formula drift irwindale great 8 battle Great 8: Began with what would end up being the deciding factor for the 2013 Formula Drift championship. Forsberg Vs. Daigo "The Ninja" Saito. Champ vs Champ... Daigo hits a clipping point in his lead run but does not go off line. Forsberg followed close. There seemed to be a decent gap between cars during Forsberg's run but the judges would give the win to Daigo. With Forsberg out, the 2013 championship was decided! Michael Essa would be crowned the new Formula Drift champ! Formula_Drift_Irwindale_2013_kearney Great 8: Dean Kearney Vs Robbie Nishida. Robbie would end up being to quick for the V8 and would move on the the Final 4 to compete against fellow teammate Daigo Saito! Vaughn Gittin JR Forrest wang s13 240sx ford mustang formula drift irwindale Great 8: Vaughn Gittin JR Vs. Forrest Wang. Vaughn has a good lead run but Forrest Wang hangs in there close. Wang straightens a bit while trying to keep up with Vaughn. Wang has a good lead run with Vaughn following close. Vaughn drops both front tires off line and hands the win to Wang. Wang would move on to his first Final 4 battle! Formula_Drift_Irwindale_2013_aasbo_tyler_Tyler-McQuarrie Great 8: Aasbo Vs Tyler McQuarrie. Aasbo get a 0 on one of his runs and Tyler advances the final 4. Robbie nishida daigo saito formula drift irwindale Final 4: Daigo Saito Vs. Robbie Nishida. Robbie Nishida is fast as usual, Daigo follows close with an aggressive follow and almost makes contact. Daigo follows up with a good lead run. Nishida straitens up and Daigo moves on to the final fight. Daigo would be guaranteed at least the number 2 spot on the podium. Formula_Drift_Irwindale_2013_tyler_forrest_wang Final 4: Tyler McQuarrie Vs Forrest Wang. Tyler leads first. Forrest Wang follows but comes in shallow on the initiation. On Forrest's lead run, Tyler follow close. Both drivers made small errors but Tyler would move on to the final battle with Daigo Saito. Formula_Drift_Irwindale_2013_wang_robbie_nishida Battle for 3rd Place: Forrest Wang Vs. Robbie Nishida. First battle too close to call. Judges call for a one more time. In their second battle, Nishida hits the wall when chasing Wang giving Forrest Wang his first Formula Drift podium finish! Congrats man! Formula_Drift_Irwindale_2013_daigo_saito Final Battle: Daigo Saito Vs Tyler McQuarrie. Tyler leads, Daigo goes off line. Judges give Daigo a 0. Tyler McQuarrie irwindale crash Daigo leads but Tyler hits the wall hard and cannot continue. Giving Daigo the number one spot on the podium! daigo_saito_irwindale Congrats to all three round 7 winners! 1st: Daigo Saito, 2nd: Tyler McQuarrie, 3rd: Forrest Wang. And congrats to our friend Michael Essa on his championship win! Thanks for rocckin the WMD logo all season! Formula Drift the house of drift 2013 Irwindale Another exciting Formula Drift season in the books! Looking forward to season 11! - Alex
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