DRIFT SEASON IS BACK. It’s palpable in the air and it cannot be more noticeable than in our shop, where everyone is bustling, walking quicker and doing everything a wee bit faster. Drifters come and hang around much longer, some even staying well into the night just to check out their cars as mechanics hustle back and forth, prepping the machines for competition.
The 2014 Hyundai Lateral Drift season which started the 1st of its 6 rounds last May 31 at Megatent, Libis, was pegged to be a night drift event so practice sessions started at 11 am and wrap up was supposed to happen by 10 pm. But, because of the outstanding skills displayed in the tandem battles of both Amateur and Pro Divisions, it became tough for the judges to gauge the winners, and they ultimately ended up making a lot of “one more time” calls on differing occasions.
That, and a mistake in tallying the scores of the Amateur qualifiers, pushed back the schedule so much, that the event ended at 2 am. (Note: It would help immensely if the organizers would be reminded of this and try and start their future “night drift” rounds much earlier, in order to compensate for any unforeseen delays since finishing up early will also encourage more people to watch also).
Judges for the event are the Japanese husband and wife team of professional drifters Kimihiro Obata-san (a licensed D1 Grand Prix driver), and his lovely wife Hiromi Kajikuma-san (also a licensed drifter who competes in Formula D events), joining them as 3rd judge is Jason Choachuy, a local drifter who used to compete in the event before, but has now chosen to judge instead to improve the sport locally, along with the help of the Japanese drift couple.
The turn-out was satisfactory despite the threat of rains which made good with its promise, pouring down sometime mid afternoon. This dampened some of the runs of the pro drivers due to the wet track that made them go slower, being mindful of the slippery course.
It all changed however, once everything dried up and Boodie Dabasol of GMW Team led the pack with a blistering run, earning him top position in qualifying. The rest of the Top 16 included the “usual suspects” with only a couple of drivers not making it due to car trouble; these included promising young drift ace Luis Gono of Saffiro/Motul Team who has now joined the pro ranks this year, and Norman Agojo of Goodyear/Autocraft Team.
They weren’t the only ones who suffered mechanical problems though, as there were several pro drivers that also didn’t use their own cars because of it; among these were Audel Sison of Goodyear/Autocraft, lone lady driver Tintin David of MFest and Rota Wheels driver David M. Feliciano as well as HKS Super Oil driver Jet Mathay, both from DMF Drift Team. All of them used other cars for this round and it proved costly points-wise, as they all bowed out right after the Top 16 tandems.
It was exhilarating to watch the Drive Hard Crew/DMF Drift Team in the Amateur Division which showed outstanding skills previously unseen in this level. The team virtually swept the competition away and occupied the top 3 podium spots in the end.
New faces Peter Schroth (1st Place) and Stephen Ng (3rd Place) along with Kar Montaner (2nd Place) dominated everyone in the Amateurs, and it will be interesting to see what the other teams will come up with in order to get back in the running in the next round.
Meanwhile, in the Pro Division, another driver that surprised the crowd was last year’s Amateur Champion, Mark Bernardo of Saffiro/GMW Team. He displayed wicked consistency in all his tandem runs despite going up against the big boys this year; but eventually lost to 2013 LD and Drift Muscle Champ, Gio Rodriguez of Falken/Driftoy Team in the fight for 3rd.
Round 2 of the Hyundai Lateral Drift Series will be once again held at Megatent, Libis in Quezon City on July 13 and with the current standing now, the next one promises to be another action packed, thrill a minute event that will surely get your adrenals going as drifters showcase their best battling hard for points.
We’d like to thank our partners and sponsors for their support in this event:
Tonnka, ROTA Wheels, Brembo, Sabelt, Cromax, SPY Optics, Motul, Aguila Auto Glass, RACKS, Haltech, Ultra Racing and Eight Decals.