|The weekend’s Goodyear Formula Drift Malaysia concluded the Formula Drift Asia series and witnessed one of the largest crowd turn out for Drift’s biggest show on the planet. After rounds in Singapore and Thailand, Daigo Saito scored his first ever victory in Asia’s only professional Drift series, while Tengku Djan Ley captured the overall Formula Drift Asia series crown.|
At a super challenging circuit in Dataran Merdeka, the top-32 tandem battles kicked things off with the mandatory format where one car led, the second car pursued and vice versa. The drivers were judged on speed, style, clipping zone proximity and the best drift angle.
In top-32, top qualifier Daynom Templeman from New Zealand was pitted against Kevi Rajoo, Other interesting battles were; Ee Yoong Chern (Yoong) versus Team Goodyear Malaysia Hanizam, Ryuji Miki up against Lim Kim Wan, and Tengku Djan against fellow Malaysian Ser Ming Hui (Fai, above).
In the hour long session, there were several upsets especially when Tan Tat Wei lost out to Emmanual Adwitya and Ivan Lau couldn’t get past Nattawoot Krerpradab during their bout. Malaysian drifters weren’t quite as effective at these Formula Drift Malaysia, with only Yoong and Fai making it into the sweet 16; Yoong eliminated Hanizam, while Fai got rid off crowd favorite Djan, the duo was joined in the top 16 by Templeman, Adwitya, Miki, Daigo Saito, Wattanaporn, Nattawoot, Non, Kokae, Fazreen Ismail, Kaek, Rhenadi Arinton, Hashiguti Anderson, Rifat Sungkar and Pop.
As fans poured into the stands for the second half of the Formula Drift Malaysia, the top sixteen runners promptly drove their mean machines round the track behind official cars, Mazda Rx-8 and Mazda CX-9, and stopped momentarily to greet the enthusiastic crowd gathered at the non-covered stand and covered grandstand. When the processions ended, Yoong was up against Templeman in the first clash of the top sixteen with; Templeman’s RX-7 overpowering the somewhat powerful and loud R32 V8 to top the duel (above), Miki overcame Adwitya to go through to the Great 8; compatriot Saito beat Porn to advance, and Non outginned Nattawwoot to move on. In the second group, Kokae, Rhenadi, Fai (above left ) and Rifat were the remaning drivers to have made it through to the top 8.
In the Great 8 round, the intensified tandem battles got the crowd roaring and cheering aloud; Miki fought Templeman, Kokae pitted against Arinton, Fai versus Rifat and Saito up against Non (above). Miki showed his drift and sideways mastery against Templeman to qualify for the final four, while Kokae disposed of Arinton in an equally convincing drifting. Fai versus Rifat was the highlight of the G8 as Rifat held his own to remove a more experienced drifter, Fai, to move on. Fai was the favorite for the next round, but an unexpected hard bump onto the barriers ended his contention for the next round (above right). His S13 suffered a broken left rear suspension and the sole Malaysian rep had to give in to an upstarter, Rifat. In the final G8 battle, Saito proved that his Altezza had more than enough speed and power to outmatch Non in an S15.
The final four’s stage was set, it would be between Miki versus countrymen Saito and Rifat pitted against Kokae. Eventhough there weren’t any Malaysian drifters in the final four, the crowd was still on their feet and stomped the stands to cheer on the foreign drifters. Miki went up strong to parry with Saito in the first F4 battle, but had no answer Saito’s powerful Altezza. Saito would move on into the finals. In the other F4 spectacle, Kokae, the sole Thai drifter, performed skillfully against a determined Rifat. Though Rifat didn’t give up and harrassed Kokae, his AE86 couldn’t quite match the A31’s advantage. Kokae moved on to face Saito in the final draw.
The final tandem battle between Saito and Kokae saw Saito outclass his rival in car-handling, drift precision and entry speed with two highly entertaining bouts. Both cars were on the limits and edged very close to the barriers on the final run, ultimately Saito prevailed by being the more consistent driver.
In Saturday’s qualifying, Daynom Templeman of Team Goodyear Racing set the pace in his Mazda RX7 for a showdown with teammate, Thai hotshot Kokae. Malaysia’s Tengku Djan Ley of team FX Federation D in his Nissan 180SX earned the loudest cheers in front of the partisan crowd by finishing 3rd, putting himself in a strong position to stay in contention for a podium finish. He also leads the Malaysian charge ahead of Mervyn Mohamed Abdullah of Team Federation D, who finished in 6th place.
Visit our Formula Drift Malaysia gallery here: http://www.motorsportchannel.com/web/2010/1218/1113.html