The drivers that had made it to the Top 16 were announced, and as with Formula Drift tradition no matter the series; the burnouts and donuts began.
As the smoke settled, the Top 16 Brackets began.
First to see the starting box was number 1 qualifier Jon Shaffer in his Spacious Garage S14 240sx pitted against number 16 qualifier Don Boline and his Concept Builders 350z.
Shaffer took the lead first, his burly LS engine enabling him to break away from Don’s supercharged VQ35 right off the line. Going down the bank, Shaffer held less angle than he potentially could have in order to keep the distance between the two; the gap going as wide as six-car lengths as both cars came down the bank and into the hairpin. With the slower speed crossing the hairpin’s apexes entails, Boline managed to recover some distance but promptly lost it once more as Shaffer was able to pedal down on the way back up.
It was then Don’s turn to take lead. Coming out of the start box it seemed as if Jon underestimated the 350z’s ability to get moving, the S14 falling behind up to a maximum of four and a half car lengths whilst coming down the bank. Like before, the pursuer regained proximity around the hairpin, yet lost it once more on the chase back up the bank.
With Shaffer taking the win, the next pair took to the start box.
Hollywood Stuntwoman Susan Purkhiser lined her 240sx next to RJ Contreras’s E36 BMW, the Nissan taking the lead first. As Purkhiser’s 240sx was the only car this round to have an inline-four, I was surprised to see her initially race away from the Big Duck Club BMW coming out of the starting box and driving along the bank. However, RJ’s big turbo S52 inline 6 enabled him to catch up by the last initiation line, keeping a proximity of two lengths even through the long sweeper corners; where the lead car typically broke away in practice and the previous run. Going into the horseshoe saw RJ make up the distance upon entry, almost making contact with the 240sx and nearly ‘parking’ the car in the corner as a result. Despite RJ’s attempts to get back in his opponents’ proximity pocket, he never regained the proximity, Purkhiser maintaining a gap greater than 2 lengths.