Stifling warmth and the specter of storms weren’t sufficient to derail the motion this previous weekend as Formulation DRIFT launched into Spherical 6 of the Professional Championship collection and Spherical 3 of the Prospec collection of tire-smoking drift occasions. The competitors passed off at World Huge Expertise Raceway outdoors of St. Louis, MO, and the climate wasn’t the one uncommon prevalence—collisions marred the Prospec rounds, whereas an underdog claimed the highest spot within the Professional qualifying heats. Even so, extra established opponents ultimately battled their method to the highest of the rostrum: American Mike Energy took first place in Prospec and Norwegian Fredric Aasbo took first in Professional. Right here’s a more in-depth take a look at how the motion performed out.
Perhaps the 93-degree temps received the higher of the drivers, however regardless of the trigger, collisions took a critical toll within the Prospec heats. Qualifying spherical chief Christian Nelson hit a wall early within the competitors spherical and needed to throw within the towel after his workforce was unable to restore his Nissan 350Z in time for his subsequent begin. Eventual winner Mike Energy additionally battled via collisions in his Nissan Silvia S15 all through the occasion. His first run was in opposition to in opposition to third-placed Championship contender Austin Matta, and Energy collided with him from behind. His workforce was capable of make the most of a five-minute timeout to restore the Nissan, and regardless of a sloppy second run, Energy superior to face Micah Diaz.
After an in depth match that went right into a “One Extra Time” run, Energy was given the nod in a cut up choice from the judges. Energy then defeated the present Prospec factors chief, Belarusian driver Dmitriy Brutskiy, and Steve Misko within the following rounds, and went on to face Canadian rookie Tommy Lemaire. Regardless of a near-flawless lead run from Lemaire, Energy bested him within the second run and in the end got here away with the trophy.
“The automobile felt wonderful and allowed me to be actually aggressive,” Energy mentioned on the podium. “We’re going to take this momentum straight to Irwindale and hopefully get one other trophy.”
An surprising winner emerged from the Professional qualifying rounds: 2020 rookie Alex Robbins, who entered the weekend twentieth within the standings, put collectively a near-flawless run to steer the sector heading into competitors. His luck ran out within the Ultimate 8 spherical. He misplaced to Ryan Tuerck, the eventual second-place finisher.
Aasbo breezed via the Ultimate 32 and Ultimate 16 rounds, and confronted his first critical menace within the Ultimate 8 in 2013 Formulation DRIFT champion Michael Essa. They battled via two shut runs and the judges requested One Extra Time. In that decisive third run, Essa spun out, and Aasbo was capable of drive away into the following spherical.
He then bested 2020 FD Professional Champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. and lined up in opposition to his Papadakis Racing teammate Tuerck. Tuerck hit a wall on the primary run, and Aasbo notched a clear second run, giving the Norwegian the victory—his first for the reason that 2020 Irwindale Ultimate. With one other trophy in hand, Aasbo remained in third place within the FD Professional standings however closed to inside 33 factors of the present chief, Matt Subject.
“It was an insane evening in St. Louis and I really feel we received gifted plenty of rounds,” mentioned Aasbo after the occasion. “We’re additionally getting nearer to the championship lead, and it’s going to be a thriller going to the workforce’s dwelling course in California.”
Subsequent up, the drivers head to California: The metropolis of Lengthy Seashore will host Spherical 7 of the Formulation DRIFT Professional Championship on Sept. 17–18.
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