The second run saw Amir leading, and lead he did. In the lead up to the first initiation, the Machine Tech car audibly sounded off, as if it were misfiring or breaking up. Despite the loss in power, however, the E30 managed to partially break away from Josh’s Mustang, holding a gap of about a length until the dive-in for the final bank.
Some how, some way, the gray Mustang dived in with a unique mixture of recklessness and precision, nearly tapping mirrors, doors, and fenders all throughout the final bank. The proximity was insane, and it was even held throughout the final bend.
The next battle was a rather short one. Rome, in his Imagine Garage E36 took to the starting box with Carlos Cano Estrella behind the wheel of his own Drift Central AE86.
Rome took the lead first. In some sort of shock, the 580 WHP E36 failed to break away from the stock 1UZ AE86 after the first initiation, the Drift Central Toyota keeping the within-one-length proximity until spinning out going through the center clipping point.
The second run saw Estrella spin again, this time in the final bank.
Following that, the battle of S14s commenced.
On the left side, Tony Cisneros took to battle in his black S14 Kouki.
To the right saw Jon Shaffer in his blue S14 Zenki.
Both cars were LS swapped, and both drivers are veterans of the first The Drift League season.
If this were a more poetic piece, I’d say my shaking was from anticipation.
Shaffer took the lead first, the two S-Chassis’s gunning through their gears on the approach to the first bank.
The Zenki broke away from the Kouki on the first bank, creating a two length gap which Shaffer skillfully kept up throughout the course.
However, Cisneros had an ace tucked in his sleeve. Diving in sharply into the second bank, the Kouki took an inside line, shaving off enough distance to where both cars were door-to-door upon exiting, a proximity Cisneros kept until they crossed the finish.
Unfortunately, the S14 duel was anti-climatic.
Cisneros took the lead, initially breaking away from the blue S14. Perhaps desperate to catch up, Shaffer overextended his car during the final bank, spinning out and zeroing, thus giving the win to Cisneros.
Following the battle of the S14s saw another interesting matchup; two The Drift League Season 1 podium finishers took to the starting box.
Between Rome Charpentier and Josh Mason, it was anybody’s guess who would come home with the higher position.
The Mustang Pilot took the lead first, with Rome hot on his heels. Surprisingly, Mason couldn’t break away on the first bank, the Season 1 Champion keeping an insane proximity on the XXR Mustang throughout the course. However, proximity is a double-edged sword; Rome swept across the final bank on the inside line, resulting in Josh cutting the Imagine Garage E36 off.
Slamming on the brakes, the BMW straightened out, zeroing the first run.
The positions switched, both cars shot out of the starting box. Rome couldn’t find the grip to break away in the first bank, and thus gave Mason the proximity needed. Both cars were mirror-to-mirror as they sped around the bank, and even on exit, the BMW was hot on the Mustang’s heels. THis changed at the touch-and-go, the Mustang breaking free of Rome’s hold and making a run for it. A run that proved to be too fast, in fact; upon powering out of the second inner bank, the XXR Mustang spun, resulting in both drivers carrying one zero.
Mason took the lead again, the two drivers throwing caution to the wind as they dove into the first bank at the top of third gear. Despite Josh’s efforts, his Mustang simply couldn’t break away from the Imagine Garage E36 barking in his blind-spot. Keeping the pressure on, Charpentier bit at Mason’s ankles all throughout the course, up until the second bank.
Both drivers having over sped into it, Mason went wide, crunching his rear quarter in an magnificent show of sparks and damaged panels, then spinning out.
It was then Rome’s turn to take the lead, and lead he did. Like before, the lead couldn’t break away, be it the lack of grip or the two cars being so evenly matched. Regardless of the reason, Mason didn’t fall back any further than Rome’s quarterpanel up until the FD Touch-And-Go. While Rome escaped just a bit, Josh began reeling him back in through the final bank. Pushing the line too far out for the sake of speed, Josh dropped two off course.
Rome took the win.
With the bracket to determine first and second determined to be between Charpentier and Cisneros, the battle for third began between Jon Shaffer and Josh Mason.
A short battle it was.
The Spacious Garage S14 lurched, not launched from the line,with a sound grimly similar to the one Pablo Cabrera’s S13 had made earlier in the day. A blown diff had handed out a 4th place finish for Jon, and a 3rd place finish for Josh.
Then, there were two.
Rome took to the lead first, breaking away from Tony just after the first bank. Gaining two car lengths of distance, the Imagine Garage E36 dove and swung past the touch-and-go until the final two corners. There, Cisneros in his S14 managed to reel Rome back in via a tighter line, and was door-to-door for the final transition, and the corner afterwards.Cisneros was next in the lead, the LS swapped cars belting and wailing their way out of the starting box.
However, it was a short lived thrash, as for unknown reasons, Rome’s Imagine Garage E36 stalled near the touch-and-go, leaving him dead in the water and Cisneros free to take the win.
It was then time for the podium ceremony (held under the grandstands rather the usual spot, thanks to the rain).
1st: Tony Cisneros
2nd: Rome Charpentier
3rd: Josh Mason
After being handed their prizes from the sponsors, the champagne came out. Despite the cold and wet weather, Round 1 of The Drift League Season 2 had a great turnout, great competition, and great action. Here’s to hoping Round 2’s a dry one.
Round 2 of The Drift League will be held on June 1st at Irwindale Speedway. Gates open at 3 PM and spectator tickets are $15 at the gate. Visit TheDriftLeague.com for more info!