First of the final two pairings of the Great 8 was between Mike Essa and Fredric Aasbo. Both drivers are fan favorites and both drivers were proving that the need of the V8 was dwindling again as they were both running turbocharged power plants. Fredric, on a Borg Warner 4-cylinder while Mike was using a Garrett I6, so not only would this be a battle of 4 versus 6, but Garrett versus Borg Warner turbo. In the end, it would be the Garrett turbo I6 of Mike Essa getting the win with a better performance between the two.
The final pairing would be Daijiro Yoshihara and Chris Forsberg, both of whom were in Nissan chassis' with V8 engines. No turbos, no lag, all torque. Chris could be viewed as the champion of the purists, though. He is using an all Nissan combination of CORR Truck V8 and 370Z while Dai is using Nissan Chassis and Dart designed Small Block GM V8. It would be the purist and the most consistent driver winning out this day, ending Daijiro’s chances once and for all towards making a comeback and a chance at winning the 2013 Championship.
The Final Four
It was unprecedented. This is something that hasn’t happened in Formula Drift or really many forms of motorsport. NASCAR certainly wouldn’t have done it. No doubt the IRL wouldn’t do it. NHRA, you can for-get-it. What was done just prior to the first pair in the Final Four has never happened and probably won’t again after this round. The judges changed the outcome of the battle between Pat Mordaunt and Vaughn Gittin, Jr., reversing their own decision and placing Pat into the Final Four instead of Vaughn. No one expected it, not even Vaughn as he was sitting at the line waiting to go up against Matt Field.
So, what ended Vaughn’s day and resulted in a reverse decision by the judges? In the replay of Vaughn’s follow run against Pat, it was revealed that as Gittin entered into the “touch and go” section his wheels went into a neutral position and lost drift. For a moment that was just longer than a second, Vaughn straightened out and it was enough for the judges to rule that he had lost drift just before the transition. Since it should have been a zero for losing drift, there would not be a one more time as Pat was able to put down a full run in his follow.
So, now we move on to Pat versus Matt Field. No matter the outcome here, this would be the best either driver has done in their Formula Drift career for either podium or even fourth place. Both drivers had something to look forward to in this fight and had everything to gain; not much to lose. After running Pat’s lead run first, a competition time out was called and then their final battle was waged.
Despite winning his protest, Pat Mordaunt would lose to Matt Field. In the same area that Vaughn straightened out, Pat would make the same error and much more pronounced. Matt Field was guaranteed a podium while Pat was still guaranteed the best finish of his career with either a 3rd or a 4th place.
The last fight of the night’s Final Four would be between Mike Essa and Chris Forsberg. Because of the closeness of each driver in their initial runs, the judges had to have them run again to best determine who would move on to face Matt Field. It wouldn’t take much as Chris Forsberg would straighten out against Essa, allowing Mike to move on. This could mean a potential second career win in the same year for Mike Essa, it could also mean a larger gap between himself and Forsberg as they were now sitting first and second in points.