Formula D: Round 6 – Las Vegas
by Justin Banner
Thursday practice started out the weekend and a few cars got mangled. Formula Drift Asia drivers Emmanuel “Dio” Armandio and Saranon Pornpatanarak were both struggling with Las Vegas or car issues. Dio did crash his car, but was repaired in time for qualifying while Saranon’s car just didn’t seem to be running right. Otto Graven’s engine gremlins were still plaguing him and he was still running on six cylinders. He has hooked up with Insane Speed to try and get the car running and set up right. They are looking towards switching to a Cosworth Pectel to get better control of the C6.R V8, among other changes. He also had a suspension failure on Wednesday that pulled the weld apart and was also doing some minor body repair on Thursday morning.
|Nothing went well all weekend for the Formula Drift Asia star, Emmanuel “Dio” Armandio.|
The biggest Thursday news and largest bit of controversy was with Falken Tire’s Justin “JTP” Pawlak and Tyler McQuarrie. JTP’s Ford Mustang had an engine failure near the end of Thursday practice and at the time of this writing, they had yet to determine what the source of that failure was. It was determined by Falken Tire that a contingency plan would be needed in case they could not get the car running for Friday qualifying. The team had JTP practice in McQuarrie’s 350Z and had Emergency Hookers bring a car from Los Angeles overnight. It was a decision they were hoping to avoid, as this would have been devastating to both drivers if things really went wrong. While the car builder, JTP, and McQuarrie did not like the idea of taking McQuarrie out of his car, there was an understanding that JTP needed the best opportunity to keep in the title hunt and the plan was reluctantly approved. There will be more on this on Wednesday’s MotoIQ Radio with Will Cannaday, as Jonthan Bradford, team manager of Falken Tire, will a guest on the show.
|No, you are not seeing things, Tyler McQuarrie had to drive in the Silvia this weekend after an engine failure in JTP’s car meant that JTP had to use McQuarrie’s car.|
Friday morning came and the engine in the Falken Tire Mustang could not be repaired that night or within the morning and the plan was put in place. Justin Pawlak would drive the Falken 350Z and Tyler McQuarrie would drive the Nissan S15 Silvia that Calvin Wan, James Dean, and even Daijiro Yoshihara have all driven at some point in the past. The car was built by SPD Metal Works and had been in storage for a future project. Because the S15 had been sitting for a while, it was a little slow to start up, but once the engine did come to life the SR20DET made itself known with fast entry speeds and the unmistakable sound of a sequential transmission banging through the gears. It took a little time to get used to the car, but by the end Friday Qualifying, Tyler had the fastest entry speed of Qualifying at over 100 MPH! I feel this shows the talent of the driver that is Tyler McQuarrie, as it had been a few years since he drove a Right Hand Drive car in anger!
|Justin Pawlak making the best of a bad situation using McQuarrie’s 350Z. He did not like the decision and stated that if he could have used the Silvia instead of McQuarrie, he would have.|
When qualifying was done later that Friday, Matt Powers driving his Need for Speed Nissan S14 240SX was declared number one qualifier. Following him was Rhys Millen, who had been looking very confident in his Red Bull Hyundai Genesis since the Seattle round. Robbie Nishida in his Bridges Racing Nissan S13 240SX qualified third and looked like his time in Japan helped him really get his flow back again. Daijiro Yoshihara in the Discount Tire S13 240SX qualified 6th and looked like he could do well for the weekend and capitalize on the bad luck that JTP was having so far in the weekend. Emmanuel Armandio qualified 23rd and made his first Formula Drift pro event in the US while Saranon Pornpatanarak failed to qualify. McQuarrie and JTP qualified 24th and 30th, respectively. Speed points were determined after qualifying due to rain prior to qualification and this did cause a hiccup in points with concern to Ryan Tuerck and the Red Bull Chevrolet Camaro, but was corrected before the start of Saturday Top 32 practice.
|Due to broken parts prior to qualifying, Walker Wilkerson was unable to qualify for Las Vegas.|