While it seemed at first that his Road Atlanta curse was lifted, Patrick Mordaunt in the Diamond Lighting/Yokohama Tire Lexus SC430 would have to battle the 1000 plus horsepower monster of Daigo Saito in his Achilles Radial Lexus SC430. With that much power and Saito back in stride from last year, Daigo made quick work of Mordaunt with a large gap when leading and close proximity while following. There was no question left for the judges to answer as Saito made sure he would be victorious and easily was. By this time rain had began to sprinkle on the track leaving everyone to wonder if it would get worse.
|Patrick Mordaunt can't catch a break at Road Atlanta. He was defeated by Daigo Saito.|
Forrest Wang in the Get Nuts Labs/Achilles Radial 240SX looked to use his ultimate style driving to get past Miro Ovcharik in the Sikky Nissan 240SX. While not quite as fast as many of his fellow drivers, the line, style, and angles Forrest uses really impress the judges when he does face a car of equal speed. While Miro showed some speed on his follow run, he did not have the same style as Forrest and that was all the advantage Wang needed to move on to the Top 16.
|More style gave Forrest Wang the win in the Get Nuts Lab/Achilles Radial 240SX. Photo by Dan Jenkins of Fueled Culture|
The first controversial run for Road Atlanta would be between Mike Essa in the GSR Autosport E46 M3 and Corey Hosford in the K-Sport Nissan 350Z. While making a bomb run in the his lead run on a track that was getting wetter by the minute, Mike went two tires off in 10a. This would be an instant zero for Essa, but Corey went straight during his run after Essa went off course from the judges' point of view. That instantly meant a double zero run and the lead run of Hosford would determine who would move on. While Hosford would make a great run in the lead, the judges favored Essa who ended up moving on.
|Fans cried foul when Mike Essa was awarded the win after judges said Hosford went straight. Photo by Dan Jenkins of Fueled Culture|
Daijiro Yoshihara was looking like the favorite in his Discount Tire/Falken Tire Nissan 240SX. After winning at Long Beach and coming to a track that he does well at prompted the experts to predict that he would top Conrad Gruenwald in the Hankook Tire Chevrolet Camaro. Conrad came off a very poor showing at Round One after losing his clutch failing to qualify. This time, Conrad came with vengeance! Ignoring the fact that Dai was favored, Conrad kept close proximity against the Falken driver during Dai's lead run. However, there was an issue going into turn 1 that Dai and his chassis guru, Mike Kojima never thought they would face on their follow run. Because he took a faster, more road race style line into the first turn, the judges felt that Dai straitened up. They also felt that he did not maintain enough angle going up the hill into the horseshoe and gave him a very low score while he was following Conrad to keep up proximity. It was very hard to see this but the judges were tough on these two things all weekend. Conrad would move on to the Top 16!
|Dai Yoshihara was defeated by Conrad Grunewald after judges said Yoshihara straighted out during his follow run. Photo by Dan Jenkins of Fueled Culture|
Matt Powers in the Fatlace/Nitto Tire Nissan 240SX took on rookie Will Parsons in the Non-Stop Tuning 86 Toyota Corolla. Despite switching out to the great SR20DET in the Corolla, Parsons was at a horsepower deficit against Matt Powers in the Katech tuned V8. It also didn't help that Parsons straightened out and lost drift on his follow run at the exit of the horseshoe. Will then called a Competition Time Out to try and repair his car, but because of the increased moisture on the track Will went off course giving Matt the win.