Formula Drift 2013 Round 2: Road Atlanta


During the halftime break between Top 32 and Top 16, rain began to fall heavily. This made the track worse and greeted the drivers with treacherous conditions despite ending for Top 16 introductions. The first pair to face the raining conditions were Kenny Moen in the Lux Performance Nissan 350Z and Fredric Aasbo in the Hankook Tire Scion tC. The battle of the Norwegians took place on familiar footing but it proved to be a bit too much as both drivers would spin out and Kenny hit the Sand Trap at 10a. After getting dug out of the sand, Kenny began his lead run and really showed how bad the surface had gotten. Down the entire straight to 10a, Moen swung back and forth with no traction under him. This was not the line the judges were looking for even with rain falling and despite causing some trouble for Fredric, Kenny eliminated himself with his run down the straight and Aasbo moved on.

Kenny Moen Road Atlanta
If it's too slick for the Norwegians, who could really tackle this course?! Photo by Dan Jenkins of Fueled Culture

Matt Field in the CX Racing 240SX looked to take out the 2010 Champion, Vaughn Gittin, Jr in the Nitto Tire/Monster Energy Mustang RTR. Matt is close to being able to add giant killing to his resume as he went one more time against Diago Saito at Irwindale last year. However, with Daijiro out of the picture Vaughn looked to capitalize on his points lead. Matt once again proved that he can't be counted out as the judges favored a One More Time with the both of them. However, with Matt hitting the cone at 10a that gave Vaughn the advantage he needed and moved him on to the Great 8.

Matt Field Vaughn Gittin Jr Road Atlanta
Matt Field showing why he will be a force to reckon with in 2013! He went One More Time against Vaughn Gittin, Jr., who was the ultimate victor of this pairing. Photo by Dan Jenkins of Fueled Culture

Joon Maeng and Kyle Mohan faced off, with the Mazdatrix/Nexen Tire RX-8 leading first and the Lucas Oil/Nexen Tire 240SX following. Joon straightened out at 10b in both of his runs and Kyle Mohan moved on with the zero runs by Maeng. Daigo Saito in the Achilles Radial SC430 took on Forrest Wang, the style king in the Get Nuts Lab/Achilles Radial Nissan 240SX. Daigo Saito would take the advantage after Forrest straightened out on his follow run and spun out on his lead run. Saito is back on point and the rest of the field were forced to take notice.

Daigo Saito Forrest Wang Road Atlanta
Style lost in this round as Daigo Saito won against Forrest Wang.

Mike Essa in the GSR E46 took on the fellow backwards entry specialist Conrad Grunewald in the Hankook Camaro. Conrad pulled more angle than even he was expecting at the top of the horseshoe causing him to hit the inside clip before the exit. This gave Essa a slight advantage. Door to door at the initiation of 10a, Essa was able to stay on Conrad's door until the 10b-10a complex. However, the initial bobble by Conrad was enough to give Mike the win and send him into the Great 8!

Mike Essa Conrad Gruenwald Road Atlanta
Angle vs angle in the wet! Mike Essa would out drive Conrad Grunewald this time.

Matt Powers in the Fatlace/Nitto 240SX faced Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy Drink 370Z next. However, it would be mechanical failure for Forsberg after he had to shut down his drift at the exit of the horseshoe. Matt Powers was in the Great 8 with the most stylish driver's suit in racing. Drift Alliance drivers Justin Pawlak and Ryan Tuerck faced off against each other and against mother nature as the rain started to fall again. The Falken Mustang normally has the advantage with great power and great engineering, but the 2JZ of the Retaks FR-S is no slouch when it comes to power and response either. Mother nature had produced a slick track and took the advantages of power and response away from them both by causing them to spin out, twice. This meant a One More Time would be needed. The wet track would prove to still be too much for JTP as he would spin out on his lead run at 10a. Ryan would keep going without error. JTP would spin once again just before the entry into the horseshoe and Tuerck would move on!

The final battle of the Top 16 was between Darren MacNamara in the Falken Silvia and Odi Bakchis in the Nexen/Air Force 240SX. V8 powered S-Chassis cars meant that the only advantage would be to Odi with slightly longer seat time in that combination. While Darren's initiation wasn't great, Odi went straight at 10a and gave the advantage to D-Mac. Odi also hit the inside clipping point and did severe damage to his axle. That damage could not be fixed in five minutes and gave Darren the win and entry to the Great 8.

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