The next battle was supposed to be between Odi Bakchis and Mike Essa, but the damage done to Essa’s car in Top 32 was too much to repair in time for Top 16 and it would be a bye-run for Odi. So, the final battle of the Top 16 was between Fredric Aasbo and Kyle Mohan, who was just coming back from Gatebil. He must have brought back some Nordic magic because as Kyle began to whip around to get back to the start line, his tire de-beaded. After using his only competition time out in qualifying, Kyle had no more time outs to use and ended his day at Top 16.
The first battle of the Great 8 was between Darren McNamara and Joon Maeng and, despite taking the chicane first, Darren pulled out a commanding lead. Joon did what he could, but that defect could not be overcome and Darren would move on to the Final Four. Next were two guys who have been with Formula Drift since day one, Ken Gushi and Chris Forsberg. However, the one and only time Gushi would win against Forsberg was Houston of 2005. Yes, I said only time as this time Forsberg would come out on top once again after Ken’s car would shut down going into the bank. A rather disappointing end, but now Forsberg was closer to another podium finish. This was a surprising result after watching Justin Pawlak all day. He would face Dean Kearney and was looking really good, until the transition from power alley as he would half spin into a zero. Then he would do the exact same thing again on his lead run to give the win to Dean.
The final battle of the Great 8 would be Fredric Aasbo and Odi Bakchis. Both of these guys are so smooth and consistent, usually very amazing to watch. The first battle showed the following skill and leading skill of both drivers with consistent runs. When they switched around, it was the same runs and caused a One More Time call from the judges. This battle had podium implications for Chris Forsberg. If Odi won, Chris would have to have advanced to the Finals to podium and keep the streak alive. If Odi lost, Forsberg was guaranteed podium no matter if he lost in the Final Four or not. Aasbo had a bit of an unusual start but it made for a very impressive follow run as he maintained proximity against Bakchis. Then Aasbo’s lead run was a little unusual where he initiated later into the bank than he had previously. This also impacted Odi’s entry as he was far later than Aasbo. It was enough to give Aasbo the advantage, moved him on to the Final Four, and guaranteed the podium finish streak of Chris Forsberg would continue.
The first battle of the Final Four would be Chris Forsberg and Darren McNamara. Again, Chris and Darren both did not make choosing a winner easy. Both drivers were consistent but Darren’s run was just that much more impressive after all three judges gave the win to Darren. With Chris Forsberg getting the final podium spot, it was now just a battle to see who would move on to face off against Darren. When they began their battle, it was a bit of a toss-up after watching both drivers run all day. However, a major correction and shut-down by Aasbo made the decision easy. Aasbo would call for a time out, but the deficit was too much and Dean Kearney was now guaranteed his first ever podium. Would he make the top step or not was the question everyone was asking themselves.