There aren’t many events that I’ve been to where I don’t know where to begin. After covering the British Drift Championship here for two years, a change was in order. A new championship to cover, new drivers, and new events. And what an event it was! Part One begins after the jump!
I arrived early on Saturday morning, and I think I brought famous Lake District rain with me. The track and the cars were soaked through, which was a bit of a shame really – less smoke! Luckily, the main event didn’t start until 6pm, so we had a good few hours for the track to dry out.
The cockpits looked cosy enough though. It’s all another day at the office for the drivers. Did someone say best job ever?
An innovative solution for plugging air intakes!
It was nice to arrive so early – the paddock was completely empty and it gave me a chance to have a really close look at some of the machines. Some were familiar, like Alan Sinnot’s AE86…
…which was sporting some sticker love for us on the rear window! Such a cool car. Look at that rear diffuser!
There was a ton of European and international talent at the event too. Filipo Pirini came all the way from Italy to compete in his MX5. With Drift Allstars having the majority of its events in mainland Europe this year, I’m looking forward to seeing a ton more of the continental talent too!
Practice started at 10am on a very, very wet track. But…and awesome track nonetheless. A small oval circuit, sort of a mix of Irwindale and Wall of Formula D fame, with the cars rolling around one corner before initiating the drift into the infield…
…running the wall, manji’ing down the straight and running the other corner…
…before going back through the infield for the final corner. It’s a fairly technical layout, and brilliant to watch.
The wet weather didn’t seem to phase the drivers, and Phil Morrison in particular was looking strong, tearing through the standing water with no effort at all! With the qualifying looking like it was going to be on a wet track, could he take the top spot?
The configuration had a couple of rear end clipping points, and somehow managed to get some very quick speeds from the cars for such a tight oval.
Finnish driver Juha Rintanen was nearly 20kph (that’s about 12mph for the Americans!) faster than anyone else through the speed trap in the morning. That massive wing was clearly keeping him planted!
As were his Achilles Tyres! He used some display sets for the superlap event after qualifying, and smoked the place out with red.
Steve ‘Stiggy’ Evans was back in his super quick Starlet. It was so light that in practice they had to add two bags of sand to try and keep traction on the greasy surface.
Another welcome return to Drift Allstars was 2010 champion, Luke Fink – all the way from Australia! He was running in Christy Carpenter’s mighty Yokohama S15.
It was his first time driving the car in practice, and he put in a faster speed than anyone on his first run! Berserk isn’t the word for it.
Even though it was just practice many of the drivers went out door together, running door to door. Going hard!
Damien Mulvey was spitting flames all day in his S15. I love the white, red, and gold livery it runs.
As qualifying approached the track was all but dry, aside from a few damp patches here and there. Juha Rintanen took the top spot with a blisteringly quick set of runs, maintaining the speed advantage seen in practice.
Second spot in quali went to Nigel Colfer in his 180SX, now sporting a mean looking grey satin paint job, and some highlighter coloured wheels that lit the track up more than the Sun!
Third went to Driftworks’ Phil Morrison…
…and fourth spot went to Walton Smith in his RB’d Impreza, sporting even wider arches than last year!
It was the first time I’ve seen this car in person, and the internet hasn’t done it justice. It has such an incredible presence on track, and sounds simply incredible.
By the end of qualifying the Top 16 went like this:
1. Juha Rintanen
2. Nigel Colfer
3. Phil Morrison
4. Luke Fink
5. Walton Smith
6. Damien Mulvey
7. Alan Sinnot
8. Fillipo Pirrini
9. Brad McQueen
10. Lluis Lopez
11. Steve Evans
12. Peter Green
13. Anthony Scott
14. Martin Richards
15. Anthony Morthley
16. Ricky Emery
It left a lot of doors open for surprise, and the presence of rookies like Ricky ‘Top Gun’ Emery on the Top 16 could leave us with some surprises! We’ll see what happens in Part 2, where I’ll be giving you all the action from the Top 16!