|Perhaps the decisive moment of the battle was when Dai sped away from DMac exiting the keyhole.|
With D-Mac leading, the battle was close and only a mistake by either driver would decide it, which happened. As he was exiting the horseshoe, Yoshioka miss-shifted and the Retaks 240LS stopped. Darren continued on and took the advantage. With Yoshioka at the disadvantage, he would need a miracle. However, that miracle never happened and Darren McNamara would go on to face Daijiro Yoshihara in the final!
|The S13 quickly opened up a large gap on the Sky.|
Before the winner could be decided, third place had to be contested. Yoshioka drove back to the starting line where a waiting John Russakoff was there. While some would say John’s night went from great to bad in an instant, you really have to look at it through his point of view. He still had a chance for a podium, the first for Nexen Tire, the first for Megan Racing, and the first for himself.
|Dai’s following run was not as strong as his lead run but he was the obvious decisive winner.|
Yoshioka has won a Formula Drift event in 2007 in Las Vegas driving the Toyota Sprinter Trueno, so this wasn’t his first try at a podium and has had success compared to Russakoff. As they both sprinted down the hill, Yoshioka would lead first and just as he had done all night, John closed the gap from 10b to the horseshoe and the gap only slightly increased by the time they got back to 10a. John’s lead run was good, but small mistakes costehim third place as Toshiki Yoshioka was awarded a podium finish.
|The S13 appeared to have greater forward bite under drift.|
Now, we come to the part of the night that would determine if Daijiro Yoshihara would repeat his performance last year, or would he suffer the same fate as Vaughn and be stuck with a loss for the night? Would Darren McNamara bring down his Falken Tire team mate? Would he get his second career win? Dai would lead first with D-Mac following close behind him. McNamara would hold his gap until the return to 10b, where Dai began to gap him and by the finish it was more than a car length, it was about two!
|After the winner was declared the car was immediately impounded and checked for weight and tire size to weight.|
Now D-Mac would lead, could he over come the advantage that Dai had? Dai entered 10a with a slight bobble, but kept his drift and gap consistent, even began to close it at 10b! Through the horseshoe and back to 10b, Dai slowly reeled Darren in and by the finish, it was less than a car length. Daijiro Yoshihara had done it; he was able to repeat at Road Atlanta! With that, his Points lead was now 30 ahead of Justin Pawlak and 131 points ahead of last year’s Champion, Vaughn Gittin, Jr.
|Dai thanks the enthusiastic crowd. The fans at Road Atlanta really get into the event and make the drivers feel appreciated. Many stayed for hours after the end at the victory circle.|
With Round Two done, the Road to the Championship now leads to new territory. Daijiro Yoshihara is in a better points position than he was last year. Justin Pawlak can still make up for his finish at Road Atlanta. Matt Powers isn’t out yet and the party is just getting started, for we invade party city, Palm Beach, Florida and the Palm Beach International Raceway. No one has driven this course, so all teams and drivers are on a fresh slate for this Undiscovered Country in Formula Drift.
|Dai Yoshihara first, Darren McNamara second and Toshiki Yoshioka third. Two podiums in two events for Yoshihara puts him in a strong command of first place in the championship points.|
See Y’all at Round 3!
|Dai’s team from left, Mike Kojima-Team Engineer, Scott Dodgion-Crew Chief, Dai Yoshihara, Shay Alexander-Tire Changer, Riley Cahill-Team Falken Car Manager, Chris Marion-KW Damper Engineer|
Formula DRIFT Professional Championship 2011 Point Standings after 1 Round
1. Yoshihara, Daijiro Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 194 Points
2. Pawlak, Justin Falken Tire Ford Mustang 164 Points
2. Powers, Matt Need for Speed Nissan S14 151 Points
4. McNamara, Darren Falken Tire Saturn Sky 148 Points
5. Forsberg, Chris NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z 134 Points
6. Tuerck, Ryan Gardella Racing / Mobil 1 Chevrolet Camaro 127 Points
7. Aasbo, Fredric Need for Speed / Hankook Scion TC 116.50 Points
8. McQuarrie, Tyler Falken Tire Nissan 350Z 115 Points
9. Wilkerson, Walker Fatlace / Intec Racing Nissan 240 111.25 Points
10. Waldin, Matt Helix Energy Drink Nissan 350Z 110 Points
11. Yoshioka, Toshiki Retaks Nissan S13 103.25 Points
12. Grunewald, Conrad Hankook Tire Chevy Camaro 102 Points
13. Russakoff, John Megan Racing / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla 95.25 Points
14. Mohan, Kyle Nexen Tire / Mazdatrix Mazda RX-8 95 Points
15. Mordaunt, Patrick PM Racing Nissan 350Z 85.75 Points
16. Gushi, Ken RS*R / Scion Racing / Hankook Scion TC 82.50 Points
Round 2: Road to the Championship Event Results
1. Yoshihara, Daijiro Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 Winner
2. McNamara, Darren Falken Tire Saturn Sky Second
3. Yoshioka, Toshiki Retaks Nissan S13 Third
Tires.com Triple Crown (after 1 of 3 events)
1. Yoshihara, Daijiro Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 106 Points
2. McNamara, Darren Falken Tire Saturn Sky 90 Points
3. Yoshioka, Toshiki Retaks Nissan S13 79 Points