|Taka Aono drew a tough first round and was eliminated in the top 32 by Ryan Tuerck. His AE86 is very underpowered and looks to have a narrow powerband. Look for Taka to come out with a new car and engine mid season, another AE86 powered by a larger 2.5 liter Scion engine.|
Next up was Falken/Discount Tire sponsored Daijiro Yoshihara and CX Racing’s Jeff Jones. On Dai’s lead run, Jones probably moved faster than Yoshihara anticipated and there was nearly some contact prior to entering 10a. I personally think it was two drivers going for the same piece of real estate in the same way, but no harm came of it. In an effort to keep up, Jeff used a very shallow, very straight line, which only became worse as he couldn’t keep his drift going back down hill. The win was in Dai’s hands but as they both entered into 10a on Yoshihara’s lead run, Jones spun and caused Dai to take evasive action. This handed the win to Dai Yoshihara.
|Tyler McQuarrie was strong all weekend long in his ASD prepped Team Falken 350Z. ASD cars are brimming with technology and are among the most expensive machines on the Formula D grid.|
Then, Need For Speed’s Norwegian driver, Fredric Aasbo went up against the Canadian privateer, Patrick Cyr. It was a slaughter, as Aasbo’s much better setup and more powerful Scion tC consistently pulled away from Cyr with more than six car lengths between them by the finish. Cyr’s lead run was no better, as Pat’s car first dropped a tire entering 10a, then at the apex of 10a, knocking over the clipping point sign in the process. He did begin to gap Aasbo, but his lackluster first run was no match and Fredric Aasbo moved on. In the tadem of Tyler McQuarrie in the Falken Tire Nissan 350Z and Dean Kearney in the V-LEDs Dodge Viper, with Tyler leading, it was a close battle up to the return to 10a where McQuarrie put up a small gap and after Kearney’s lead run, the call was to Tyler. Kearney struggled with the horseshoe exit on his lead run, which cost him the most.
|Ross Petty in the Boso Garage S15 was impressive until his LS3 motor threw a rod in the last practice before the Top 32.|
Vaughn Gittin, Jr. in the Monster Energy Drink/Falken Tire Mustang and Formula Drift Rookie, Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis in the Forged Racing 240SX was part two of where Vaughn’s tale towards his climb back up at Road Atlanta. Odi put up a great pair of runs, but Vaughn’s were better and he was able to move on. Vaughn was throwing down, despite going up against a rookie and looked to be spot on. Is his championship path on a detour or did GDOT put up the wrong sign? Only the rest of the night would tell.
|Poor Charles Ng. His car was delayed due to bad weather in Texas and his first qualifying run was also his first pass on the track! We was able to pull it together and drive well quickly.|
In what could have been a tough battle for Ryan, it did not come to be as Taka Aono and his Megan Racing/Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla could not make the line. His car had an electrical gremlin appear just minutes before heading to the line, allowing Redbull Energy/Mobil One driver Ryan Tuerck and his Cheverolet Camaro to move on.
|Mike Essa’s new BMW Z4 was much improved over Long Beach and put up a strong performance. Mike was getting some of the best entries going inverted into turn 10.|