SWD Blog

Fredric Aasbo third in Orlando

ORLANDO, Florida (April 29, 2018) – This weekend saw another podium finish for Fredric Aasbo as he snagged the top qualifying position and advanced through the Formula Drift competition ladder to score third place in the brand new Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback.

“To debut a new car with back-to-back podium finishes is incredible,” said Aasbo following the Round 2 champagne ceremony in Orlando, Florida. “These results say a lot about the whole team and are a credit to the fantastic support we get from Rockstar Energy Drink, Toyota, and Nexen Tire.”

The driver crushed qualifying on Friday, earning a 97 on his first run and topping the leaderboard with a 99 on his second. The score earned him a bye into the Top 16, where he advanced cleanly past rookie Matt Vankirk and closed proximity on Ken Gushi in the Great 8 to move into the Final 4.

There, he lined up against multi-time champion Chris Forsberg in a battle of titans. Aasbo drove a strong lead run but lost ground on the chase. The battle was one of the narrowest of the event and judges deemed the result too close to call, setting up a One-More-Time battle.

“I knew Chris would do well when I saw he was coming back onto Nexen tires this year,” said Aasbo. “He’s really able to make the most of the power and I had a hard time chasing him down. He was on rails all day.”

Back-to-back podiums for Fredric Aasbo. All-new Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback is third in Orlando. (PHOTO: Larry Chen, Toyota Racing)

The Orlando Speed World track configuration started with steep banking before drivers dropped down through a rough transition onto an infield flat. In the One-More-Time re-run, Aasbo lost ground to his rival through the transition and locked in a third place result.

Aasbo opened the season last month with a win in Long Beach, California. The pair of strong performances from the brand-new vehicle is a remarkable achievement for the Papadakis Racing team.

“I really can’t think of a better way to start the season than with back-to-back podium results,” said team owner Stephan Papadakis. “We know we have huge untapped potential in this Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback and it’s already proven super-strong in competition. Now it’s just down to setup changes for our next event.”

The next event is approaching fast. The series moves to Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, for Round 3 in just two weeks’ time (May 11-12). Although Aasbo is the most winning driver in Formula Drift history, with 11 career victories, he is still looking for his first win at the challenging Road Atlanta track. His best career finish there came in 2014, when he earned a second-place result.

Drifting is a high-skill, high-powered motorsport with an emphasis on car control. In the Formula Drift series, drivers compete in knockout heats on a closed course, sliding sideways in trials judged on speed and style. With origins in Japan, it is one of the fastest growing forms of motorsport in the world.

Article source: http://news.formulad.com/2018/fd-news/fredric-aasbo-third-in-orlando/


Fredric Aasbo ready for Orlando

ORLANDO, Florida (April 26, 2018) – Fredric Aasbo is ready for the tricky Orlando Speed World track as Formula Drift makes its way east to the Sunshine State this Friday and Saturday for Round 2 of the 2018 championship.

The driver returns to series competition after a strong start to the season. He drove his brand new Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback to victory three weeks ago at the opener in Long Beach, California. The result raised his total career wins tally to 11 — more than any other driver in Formula Drift history.

With back-to-back Orlando wins in 2016 and 2017, Aasbo is a heavy favorite this weekend. Even so, he remains focused heading into the event. A heartbreaker of a 2015 run there saw the usually consistent driver eliminated from competition in the Top 32. “I’ve seen my share of ups and downs in Orlando,” he said. “That 2015 defeat was a big turning point I’ll never forget: It taught me how to drive the track.”

The driver ultimately fought back to win the championship title that year.

The Formula Drift track configuration at Orlando Speed World features a steep banked first corner with a bumpy and challenging transition to a figure-eight on the flat. Managing the rough transition at speed, door-to-door with a rival, separates the field as the best advance through the knockout competition.

Weather is typically a factor at this event and near-record heat is expected this weekend. High temperatures and humidity can sap engine power and put drivers under tremendous strain.

Despite forecasts, however, locals know that rain is always a possibility.

Grandstand tickets are still available, while the event will be available to watch on the popular series livestream.

The team is feeling optimistic after the Papadakis Racing built Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback won its maiden event.

“Toyota trusted our team to be the first to work with their new Corolla Hatchback and we’re thrilled with how the car performed,” said team owner Stephan Papadakis. “We’ll continue to make small changes based on what we learn every time we take it into competition but to debut with a win shows incredible potential in the new car.”

Since Long Beach, the team has been busy refining the new build, as well as travelling to Dallas and Arizona for Toyota appearances that have given Aasbo the chance to put in some extra time behind the wheel.

Drifting is a high-skill, high-powered motorsport with an emphasis on car control. In the Formula Drift series, drivers compete in knockout heats on a closed course, sliding sideways in trials judged on speed and style. With origins in Japan, it is one of the fastest growing forms of motorsport in the world.


Fredric Aasbo heads into Formula Drift Orlando following a win at the season opener earlier this month. (Photo: Larry Chen / Toyota Racing

Article source: http://news.formulad.com/2018/fd-news/fredric-aasbo-ready-for-orlando/


2018 FORMULA DRIFT ORLANDO VICTORY CLAIMED BY CHRIS FORSBERG

Following frantic work by his team, DeNofa made it to qualifying and scored 87 points on his first run. However, he was unable to complete his second run after the team discovered a more serious mechanical issue and withdrew the car. With his competitive weekend over, Chelsea joined the Formula DRIFT / AEM Halftime Show with Maximum Driftcast as a co-host and was able to give his personal perspective on the track and the unfolding action.

For the drivers who remained, it was a very tight qualifying session. The top drivers were separated by a couple of points as each had to perform at their very best to gain an advantage in the heats.

An interesting pattern emerged in qualifying that was established by Piotr Wiecek (Poland), who won the final round of the 2017 season and qualified first for the 2018 opener. That round would subsequently be won by Fredric Aasbo (Norway), who qualified first for Orlando.

Aasbo’s results, both on the Streets of Long Beach and his Orlando qualifying performance, are particularly impressive because he’s driving the brand new Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla. And despite his 2015 Champion status, few people expected him to emerge so strong. A typically modest driver suggested the new car had similarities to his previous mount, but that doesn’t fully explain the achievement.

“We’ve been working really hard to improve our qualifying performance,” Aasbo explained immediately after the session ended. “It’s been a long time since we qualified first, and to do that with a 99-point run says a lot about the level of the competition in the series – you have to put in an almost perfect drive to climb to the top. So we’re stoked with the result and really excited for tomorrow’s competition.”

Aasbo’s qualifying position gained him a bye in the Top 32 run offs, meaning his first competitive drive would be against Matt Vankirk (USA) in his Driftmatic Nissan 240SX. Aasbo would get the judge’s decision and advance to meet Ken Gushi (Japan) in his GPP / Toyota Racing Falken 86, who had to beat Daijiro Yoshihara (Japan) in his Turn 14 Distribution / Falken Tire Subaru BRZ in the previous round.

Aasbo’s progress would be halted in the Final Four, when he came up against eventual winner, Chris Forsberg (USA) in his NOS Energy Drink Nissan 370Z on Nexen Tires. However, Fredric wasn’t going down without a fight. The first two runs were too close to call for the judges and the crowd called for “One More Time.” On the second attempt, Forsberg was able to claim victory and head to the final, leaving Aasbo in third by virtue of his qualifying position.

Forsberg had to fight hard to reach the final, first vanquishing Vaughn Gittin Jr (USA) in his Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR in the Top 32. That put him against Jhonnattan Castro (Dominican Republic) in his GPP / Toyota Racing Falken 86 in the next round, before meeting the on-form Piotr Wiecek in his Worthouse / Falken Tire / Nissan Silvia S15.

Wiecek had qualified first on the Streets of Long Beach and took third place on the podium. He’d also scored a double win at the non-championship Motegi Super DRIFT Challenge the following weekend during the Grand Prix of Long Beach. Yet despite his momentum, Wiecek succumbed to Forsberg, who headed to the final against Wiecek’s teammate and 2017 FD Champion, James Deane (Ireland).

To reach the final, Deane qualified in second place in his Worthouse / Falken Tire / Nissan Silvia S15, scoring an impressive 97 points to challenge Aasbo for top honors. He also got a bye run in the Top 32 and would beat Forrest Wang (USA) in his Vapetasia / Achilles Radial / NRG Innovations Nissan S15 in the Top 16. The Top 8 saw Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis (Lithuania) swept aside in his Falken Tires / Maxxoil / Drifz Wheels Nissan S14. Deane’s Quarter Final was against Ryan Tuerck (USA) in the Ryan Tuerck Racing / Gumout / Black Magic / Nexen Tire Toyota 86. It was a hard-fought battle but Deane was too strong.

Despite losing in the final to Forsberg, Deane was delighted with the result. “I had so much fun leading every run on this track, but Chris Forsberg was killing it all weekend. He definitely deserved the win although it was unfortunate that my power steering failed on the second run. We hit the wall on the first corner pretty badly, so we’ve got to work hard for the next event but bring on Atlanta!”

Chris Forsberg was extremely excited by his victory: “It feels great to get be on the top step of the podium this early in the season. I have to thank my team for working with me to completely rebuild the car through the off-season. It’s now the best car I’ve ever had. The power and grip it generates is incredible, and I cannot wait for Atlanta!”

Round three in Atlanta, GA takes place on May 11-12, and Formula DRIFT president, Jim Liaw, was very happy with how things were progressing: “The south-east region is so strong for FD as the audience continues to grow. We had great weather this weekend, which brought out the fans who were treated to some exceptionally close competition. We knew it would be a great weekend when qualifying was producing almost flawless runs. So many of the drivers are on top of their game right now but we’ll have to see how they do with the quick turnaround to Atlanta in two weeks.”

Article source: http://news.formulad.com/2018/fd-news/2018-formula-drift-orlando-victory-claimed-by-chris-forsberg/



10 Things Learned From Formula Drift Long Beach

 
Written by Joey Redmond of Wrecked Magazine
 

10. Kevin Lawrence Never Quits

While serious engine issues and build delays took out drivers such as Dean Kearney and Taylor Hull, it was the never give up attitude of Kevin Lawrence that shined this weekend. He blew up two motors back in Florida in his proper built 240sx and grabbed the Enjuku Racing R32 Skyline at the last minute for a cross country drive to Long Beach. More mechanical issues hit the team and Kevin smacked nearly every panel on that poor R32 against walls in Long Beach but he kept going and took a loss in the Top 32 when most teams would have quit 16 issues ago.
 
 
 

9. Go back and give Piotr Wiecek that famous 100 Point Qualifying Run

The biggest missed call of the weekend for me was the judges robbing Piotr Wiecek of a 100 point run. If that wasn’t a 100-point run then I don’t think one is possible at Streets of Long Beach period. He was 100% committed around the course and the more I watch the run, the less I can see the four-point deduction. The only person who was happy about that 96 score was Tanner Foust as he remains the only driver in history to achieve a perfect qualifying score.
 
 
 

8. Third Brake Light Elimination was A Genius Move

I was prepared before this event to come on here and tear apart the judges and the policy change that invoked the elimination of the third brake light. However, the new tire marker/visible tire rule I favor much more. I think it allows the judges and fans to see wheel motion that is more important than brake lights, which can only be seen from certain angles. It is a really bold change they put out for 2018 that I think will pay off. This rule change can hopefully put an end to some certain drivers that are well known for slowing down off throttle to bait drivers into contact
 
 
 

7. Matt Field way too Conservative in that Corvette

I really hope Matt Field was just not 100% comfortable in his Corvette because he drove more conservative than I have ever seen him drift. I’m banking on the door banging 100% Field will be in full swing by Orlando Speed World but it was so strange to see him be so timid in a drift car. I really want to see the Corvette become a successful chassis in Formula Drift so lets hope Field can get more seat time and settle into the C6 Corvette. He needs to come out to Round 2 and really earn that “Beast from the Bay” title Jarod has given him.
 
 
 

6. Matt Coffman Continues to Quietly Advance his Level

Most drivers in 2018 have all the flash on their car and a constantly updated Instagram account but the silent ripper these days is Matt Coffman. He really gave it to Piotr Wiecek in the Top 16 and could have even won that battle which is unreal considering this is the same Piotr Wiecek that I think deserved a clear 100 points on his qualifying run. If Matt Coffman found himself somewhere else on this bracket, I think he would be standing on the podium. I also think the podium is his at some point in 2018.
 
 
 

5. Dirk Stratton Made a Statement in his Corvette

If I had to make a bet on Rookie of the Year after one round I would put all my money on Dirk Stratton hands down. He looked like the most committed and confident driver of the weekend from the 2018 rookie class. His wreckers or checkers style drifting resulted in a wreck on the weekend but his confidence and lack of intimidation from the big name drivers will pay off over eight rounds.
 
 
 

4. Alec Hohnadell Got Dealt a Tough Loss Against James Deane

I almost don’t want to write about this battle because I am so torn on the result. My gut reaction says Alec Hohnadell got a raw deal and should have won based on his lead run not being a zero. I talked independently to two of the three judges after the event while watching the battle on an iPhone and they both said Alec Hohnadell was not in drift too long to give him a score and therefore he was given an incomplete. I see where they are coming from but I think you could really interpret the call both ways. It’s a judgment call that makes it hard to favor with a double zero when Hohnadell finishes the course and Deane breaks down before the finish line. Other than this messy battle I think the judging was flawless all weekend.
 
 
 

3. The Ferrari Fire Seen Around the World

I had to pinch myself as I watched the big screen show a Ferrari 599 going up in flames just out of my eyesight in grandstand 16. The $320,500 MSRP car is by far the most expensive factory drift car in Formula Drift history and to see it turn into a fireball before making a full tandem pass was gut wrenching. Luckily, the driver Federico Sceriffo hopped out quickly and was safe. It was mentioned to me by some people on track over the weekend that the fuel pumps remained on when the car came to a stop which led to gas pouring all over the place. This led to the fire which was difficult to suppress and the giving Sceriffo and team another tough break on his debut weekend. It also looks like he is putting his team to work to get this car back on the track. I think Orlando might be a long shot for repairs but I count on seeing this car in action at Road Atlanta in May.
 
 
 

2. Is Fredric Aasbo the only hope from a Worthhouse Championship Repeat?

I always find myself cheering against the most recent champion when the new drift season starts up. Maybe I am a sucker for the underdog but my biggest fear about Formula Drift is a “Jimmie Johnson NASCAR domination era” that lulls the series to sleep with a repeat champion over and over again. Aasbo seems to be the biggest barrier after one round to a Worthouse championship but Wang might be the sleeper champion tons of fans will be rooting for after a second place finish as well. The real shame for fans everywhere was we didn’t get to see a final four battle of Wang vs. Deane.
 
 
 

1.Forrest Wang is Back and Seems More Focused than Ever

The whole feel behind Forrest Wang’s return to Formula Drift seems different this time. With a year off under his belt the new team seems more focused and ready to make a run for a championship. A smaller turbo and new gearing was just a sign of things to come from the program giving them more boost about 1000RPMs lower than before. He topped the weekend off with his first ever victory over three-time champion Chris Forsberg and a podium spot.
 
 
 

Article source: http://news.formulad.com/2018/featured/10-things-learned-from-formula-drift-long-beach/


PIOTR WIECEK CLAIMS DOUBLE VICTORY IN MOTEGI SUPER DRIFT WEEKEND

As is traditional, round one of the 2018 Formula DRIFT series took place on the Streets of Long Beach last weekend, with Frederic Aasbo climbing to the top step of the podium. Following the event, the city streets remain closed for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which hosts the Motegi Super DRIFT invitational challenge on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The format is designed to entertain the TGPLB crowds and expose new fans to the sport. It involves eight top Formula DRIFT drivers who don’t score points towards the FD championship, but do compete for prize money presented by event sponsor, Motegi Racing.

The Motegi Super DRIFT Challenge is incredibly popular both with viewers on the Formula DRIFT livestream and the Grand Prix crowds, who remain until 830pm to see the victor crowned under floodlights.

The 2018 Motegi Super DRIFT Challenge would see one man rise to the top on both evenings. Piotr Wiecek dominated the proceedings, continuing the momentum that resulted in an event win at the 2017 final round, first place qualification at round one of the 2018 series and a third place finish at that event. Partnered with 2017 Formula DRIFT champion, James Deane, the Worthouse / Falken Tire team and its Nissan Silvia S15s are going to be a powerful force this year.

Wiecek’s rise to the top on Friday saw him run first against Alec Hohnadell in his Rain-X / Permatex / Nexen / Hoonigan Nissan S14 in the Great 8. Wiecek would then beat Alex Heilbrunn’s Team IMR Nitto Tire BMW M3 in the Final 4. This meant he ran against Forrest Wang’s Vapetasia / Achilles Radial / NRG Innovations Nissan S15 in the Final. Wang had taken second place in round one of the 2018 Formula DRIFT series after a year away from the sport and is in top form. However, Wiecek proved to be unstoppable and swept Wang aside to claim the win.

On Saturday evening, Piotr would again beat Hohnadell in the Great 8 before facing Forrest Wang again in the Final 4. After the two drivers ran together they split the judges’ decision, resulting in “One More Time.” The pair would repeated the runs and the decision eventually went to Wiecek.

Saturday evening’s Final was another thrilling battle, this time between Wiecek and Justin “JTP” Pawlak in his Roush Performance / Falken Tires / 2018 Ford Mustang. JTP had finished fifth in the opening round of Formula DRIFT and was another driver in strong form. And while the crowd was calling for “One More Time,” the judges narrowly gave the decision to Piotr Wiecek and the Worthouse / Falken Tire team.

We caught up with a very excited, champagne-soaked winner after the podium ceremony. “What an incredible weekend!” Piotr Wiecek exclaimed. “This is such an amazing track and I’m so happy to be here, and to win both events. I’m also happy that my wife and son were able to join me for the first time at such a special occasion. This was brilliant, and I must give special thanks to James (Deane) and Micheal (Sheehan) who did a great job in the paddock and as spotters. It was great fun and I hope I will be able to repeat it as soon as possible.”

The official results from the 2018 Motegi Super DRIFT Challenge are as follows:

Day one

First – Piotr Wiecek

Second – Forrest Wang

Third – Trenton Beechum

Day two

First – Piotr Wiecek

Second – Justin Pawlak

Third – Forrest Wang

Full results from both rounds of the 2018 Motegi Super DRIFT Challenge can be found at formulad.com

Visit formulad.com for event details, ticket purchases, driver profiles, result, Livestream information and more.

Article source: http://news.formulad.com/2018/fd-news/piotr-wiecek-claims-double-victory-in-motegi-super-drift-weekend/


Motegi Super Drift – Day 2 Results

 

Results

1st – Piotr Wiecek
2nd – Justin Pawlak
3rd – Forrest Wang

Article source: http://news.formulad.com/2018/fd-news/motegi-super-drift-day-2-results/


Motegi Super Drift – Day 1 Results

 

Results

1st – Piotr Wiecek
2nd – Forrest Wang
3rd – Trenton Beechum

Article source: http://news.formulad.com/2018/fd-news/motegi-super-drift-day-1-results/


FORMULA DRIFT PARTNERS WITH SUMMIT RACING FOR PRO2 CATEGORY CONTINGENCY AND PROMOTION

Formula DRIFT – the world’s premier competitive drifting series – is delighted to announce a new partnership with Summit Racing Equipment. This is especially good news because it focuses on the Pro2 category, which attracts up and coming drivers as they refine their skills before stepping up to the Pro category.

With 50 years of experience, Summit Racing Equipment is recognized as a market leader for its performance parts inventory, fast shipping, customer service, and tech expertise. It currently offers ten motorsport contingency programs to series around the world, and for 2018 Summit Racing Equipment will add Formula DRIFT Pro2 to its contingency program.

The program requires Pro2 teams to have Summit Racing decals on the car. The top two finishers will then be rewarded with a $200 gift card for finishing in first place, and a $100 gift card for second place in the Pro2 category.

Additionally, Summit Racing will sponsor a series of videos highlighting the drivers and focusing on their battle in the Pro2 category. Fans will be able to enjoy the videos and can follow the Formula DRIFT Pro2 category live when it takes place at four of the 2018 Formula DRIFT rounds. These include round three in Atlanta, GA; round six in St Louis, MO; round seven in Dallas, TX; and the final round eight at Irwindale Speedway in California. Furthermore, Summit Racing Equipment will activate at the Atlanta and Texas rounds, where it invites Formula DRIFT fans to visit its booth and pick up a free catalog and special show discount offer.

“We’re very excited to take Summit Racing Equipment into the Formula DRIFT world,” said Tommy Dupree, motorsports and events coordinator at Summit Racing. “FD opens yet another facet of motorsports for us to expand our efforts as The World’s Speed Shop. We’re also very happy to be involved in the Pro2 category as a contingency sponsor and look forward to seeing the new stars who develop from this exciting category.”

In turn, Formula DRIFT president and co-founder, Jim Liaw, had this to say about the new partnership: “We are delighted to welcome Summit Racing Equipment to our series and we’re especially excited that they recognize the importance of the Pro2 category. We know it’s crucial to encourage new talent into the sport in order to maintain its meteoric rise, and the role Summit Racing Equipment will play with both the Pro2 contingency program and the video series will be appreciated by the teams and fans alike.”

Round two of the 2018 Formula DRIFT series takes place in Orlando, FL on April 27-28. Visit formulad.com for event details and ticket purchases.

ABOUT FORMULA DRIFT

Formula DRIFT is recognized as the leading international drifting championship. Established on the streets of Japan, drifting has evolved into a worldwide competitive sport that challenges each driver’s ability and control. Formula DRIFT provides a series for professional drifters to compete nationwide for the coveted Formula DRIFT Championship. As the first official drifting series in North America, Formula DRIFT has taken competitive motorsports to the extreme, attracting drift fans and car enthusiasts from all walks of life, and established itself as the global leader for the sport.

Formula DRIFT has the most viewed livestream in the world, catering to more than 2.5M fans annually. The series is also featured on CBS Sports in the USA and distributed globally by IMG Media, reaching over 400M households. CBS Sports Network is available across the country through local cable, video and telco providers, and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 221 and Dish Network Channel 158. For more information, including a full programming schedule and how to get CBS Sports Network, visit cbssportsnetwork.com

For a competition schedule and ticket information, visit formulad.com

FOLLOW FORMULA DRIFT ONLINE

formulad.com

instagram.com/formulad

facebook.com/formuladrift

twitter.com/FormulaDrift

Tune into Formula DRIFT on CBS Sports and check your local listings for air times.

MEDIA CONTACT

Greg Emmerson
greg@theidagency.com

Article source: http://news.formulad.com/2018/fd-news/formula-drift-partners-with-summit-racing-for-pro2-category-contingency-and-promotion/


2018 FORMULA DRIFT SEASON OPENS WITH EXCITEMENT AND DRAMA ON THE STREETS OF LONG BEACH

With new cars, drivers and teams attacking the corners for the long-awaited opening round of Formula DRIFT, the Streets of Long Beach promised a great deal of excitement and did not disappoint.

Highlights among the 2018 field included 2016 FD champion, Fredric Aasbo, driving his Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire 2019 Toyota Corolla, unveiled days earlier at the New York International Auto Show. Matt Field also debuted his Wish / Borla / Falken Tire Chevrolet Corvette, while Federico Sceriffo would bring his unique Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano Drift Spec (aka Fiorella) to the Californian street circuit.

With a number of brand new cars and almost every team carrying out modifications and upgrades during the off-season, the first round always brings a degree of trepidation as the drivers get to grips with a “green” track. However, the front runners started to emerge during practice, and qualifying highlighted the drivers to watch.

Qualifying was dominated by the Worthouse Drift Team, with its pair of Worthouse / Falken Tire / Nissan Silvia S15s placed in first and second position. Top of the table was Polish driver Piotr Wiecek, who was awarded 2017 Formula DRIFT Rookie of the year and ended the previous season with a victory at the final round at Irwindale Speedway. He appeared to be maintaining his momentum into 2018, as did teammate and 2017 Formula DRIFT Pro champion, James Deane. The Irishman qualified in a strong second place and put all FD competitors on notice that he meant business.

Best of the rest was Forrest Wang’s Vapetasia / Achilles Radial / NRG Innovations Nissan S15 in third, Justin “JTP” Pawlak’s Roush Performance / Falken Tires / 2018 Ford Mustang in fourth, and Fredric Aasbo in fifth driving his brand new Corolla.

“I was delighted to take first place in qualifying,” said Wiecek, “because we started the qualification session without all the parts we needed. One of our containers was delayed for a month while being shipped from Europe and only arrived on Friday during qualification. This made the team’s finish in first and second all the more special.”

After Friday qualifying, Saturday would bring the intensity and excitement of full-blooded competition to the Streets of Long Beach. The threat of rain was averted, to the relief of competitors and spectators alike. The capacity crowd was treated to high-speed, high-octane action from 9am when practice began, to the final showdown at 530pm.

Formula DRIFT: Streets of Long Beach was won by Fredric Aasbo in the Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire 2019 Toyota Corolla. Despite limited seat time in the brand new car, Fredric conceded that it had some similarities to last year’s car, which helped the team with set up. And while everybody at Papadakis Racing was optimistic about the car’s chances, even they couldn’t have expected to be on the top step of the podium.

Aasbo’s path to the final saw matchups with Matt Vankirk in the Top 32, Kristaps Bluss in Sweet 16, Justin Pawlak in the quarter-final, top qualifier Piotr Wiecek in the semi-final, and Forrest Wang in the final.

Both Wang and Aasbo drove perfect lines in the final, causing the judges to request they run “One More Time” before giving the decision to the Toyota driver.

Aasbo was delighted with the result and gracious towards his competitor: “I used to watch Formula DRIFT from Europe and I saw Forrest rise through the ranks, retire and now he’s come back swinging. He’s a real artist and one of the OG drifters. He has conducted a masterclass here, taking out everybody except us. I’m really stoked to see him back but even more excited to see us on the top step of the podium.

“Coming second in the 2017 season we knew we had our work cut out. We weren’t fastest and I wasn’t the most talented,” said a reflective Aasbo. “But we had an opportunity to build a new car and Papadakis Racing took it to the next level. In the meantime, I went back to Norway and practiced drifting on the frozen lakes during the winter so I would be ready for the ultimate test today.”

Forrest Wang driving the Vapetasia / Achilles Radial / NRG Innovations Nissan S15 had a challenging path to the final. Starting with Kazuya Taguchi, he then had to overcome Vaughn Gittin Jr, Chris Forsberg in quarter-finals, and the 2017 champion James Deane in the semi-finals. What makes his achievement even more special is that Forrest took a hiatus from the series for a year, and this was his first event back in Formula DRIFT.

After the final he had this to say: “Coming into the weekend I had a lot of anxiety after taking a year off, but the car was great through all the sessions. It was fast and had a ton of grip so I had a lot of confidence. The team was working great and the Achilles Radial tires were working well so we have a lot of confidence for the rest of the season. Having qualified third and finished second we couldn’t have hoped for a better result at Streets of Long Beach.”

Formula DRIFT moves on to Orlando, FL for round two on April 27-28 and series president, Jim Liaw, was able to reflect on a successful opening round. “The Streets of Long Beach are always a challenging start to the season for the competitors, but the teams who perform well assume an advantageous position as we move into the next round. We’re also delighted that the sport continues to grow, and that Long Beach was sold-out. More people came to see the action than last year and it sets a good tone for the rest of the 2018 season as well as our return to Irwindale Speedway for the final round in October.”

Visit formulad.com for event details, ticket purchases, driver profiles and Livestream information.

EDITOR’S NOTE

Please use this link for high-resolution event images:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wod0zuj1sdqny5v/AADlNBbq-kAFZMkcVItQqif6a?dl=0

ABOUT FORMULA DRIFT

Formula DRIFT is recognized as the leading international drifting championship. Established on the streets of Japan, drifting has evolved into a worldwide competitive sport that challenges each driver’s ability and control. Formula DRIFT provides a series for professional drifters to compete nationwide for the coveted Formula DRIFT Championship. As the first official drifting series in North America, Formula DRIFT has taken competitive motorsports to the extreme, attracting drift fans and car enthusiasts from all walks of life, and established itself as the global leader for the sport.

Formula DRIFT has the most viewed livestream in the world, catering to more than 2.5M fans annually. The series is also featured on CBS Sports in the USA and distributed globally by IMG Media, reaching over 400M households. CBS Sports Network is available across the country through local cable, video and telco providers, and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 221 and Dish Network Channel 158. For more information, including a full programming schedule and how to get CBS Sports Network, visit cbssportsnetwork.com

For a competition schedule and ticket information, visit formulad.com

FOLLOW FORMULA DRIFT ONLINE

formulad.com

instagram.com/formulad

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Article source: http://news.formulad.com/2018/fd-news/2018-formula-drift-season-opens-with-excitement-and-drama-on-the-streets-of-long-beach/


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