The first controversial run of the event was between Odi Bakchis in the US Air Force/Nexen Tires Nissan 240SX and Robbie Nishida in the Achilles Radial Lexus SC300. The first run by both drivers was excellent and both drivers showed no clear advantage. The second run, Odi would follow and Robbie would lead. Robbie had made a mistake and went wide into the “touch and go” area, dropping a wheel with Odi dropping two tires right behind him. Initially, the judges gave Odi a zero and Robbie was moving on.
Then, after reviewing the replay, Odi filed a protest after the Top 16 on the grounds that Robbie had also made a zero run. What the judges missed, and clearly so, was that Robbie had also hit the last marker in the “touch and go” along with dropping a tire. This would be a second deduction and should have resulted in a zero run for Robbie and forcing a one more time run. The judges deliberated, talked to Odi and his team, and then talked to Robbie and the Achilles Team. It was ruled that the protest was valid and a one more time had to be run.
Keep in mind that I am jumping the gun on the story, but a solution was made on how to do a one more time run after the Top 32 was over but befor the Top 16 was set to begin. Keep reading, you won’t believe what they did.
Ken Gushi in the Greddy Scion FR-S and Danny George in the Wreckhouse V8 Miata would face off. It would be an interesting one as Danny made some mistakes in his follow run but then left Ken Gushi in his lead run. The V8 Miata had found some speed between runs and that would also force the judges to call for a one more time. It was here that Ken Gushi would go off course at the sweeper on his follow run and give Danny the advantage he needed to secure the win.
The Greddy team then stated that there was moisture on the window of Gushi’s car, but after an inspection by Kevin Wells, there were no visible leaks from Danny’s car. After the event was over, Ken posted on Facebook that he just simply made a mistake and went off course. Regardless, Danny George would make his second Top 16 appearance in 2013.
Next up were the Norwegian Hammer, Fredric Aasbo in the Hankook Tires/Motegi Racing Scion tC and Chris Jeanneret in the STR Racing Nissan 240SX. Too much aggression and not enough experience would force Jeanneret to slide off course before the “touch and go” and Aasbo’s experience would mean that Fredric would get the win.