The second day of my All Star Drift experience was even longer as qualifying for Round 4 was for Top 32, instead of Top 16. There was practice for all four groups of drivers first, before they started qualifying. It was a dreary day with morning showers and the track was damp when qualifying rolled around. The order of drivers started from the back opposed to Round 3, ie. the last driver of Round 3′s qualifying order started first for Round 4.
Motor Tracks is a publisher of a famous DVD magazine after all and they are well-known for their humour and high entertainment value. See the start line with the disco lights:
For this round, I had the chance to be spotter for the PTT team, helping them to record scores and videos. I felt quite different sitting up in the box next to the judges alongside the rest of the WAGs (Wives And Girlfriends). Most of the spotters are usually the wives and girlfriends of drivers. They are very professional, complete with headphones, walkie-talkies, video cameras, clipboards and they made themselves comfortable with food, mini ice boxes with drinks, cushions etc.
Because it was a low-speed track this time, the smaller-engined cars had it easier and the wet floor seemed to helped some slide easier into the hairpin. The only female in this competition Namza did well to score 74.50%, higher than her uncle-cum-coach Karn Goodyear who had a 74%. She’s only 22 years of age, very young and shows promising potential! Previously sponsored by LuckyDiva.net, she is now on the hunt for sponsors. Cute girl who drifts with make-up… Her logo is inspired by Hiromi!
The judges gave some leniency though and allowed for slight straightening if the driver continues with the drift, but a complete spin is a zero. This was to ensure that everyone gets a score.
The track began to dry up towards the end of the first qualifying run and the bigger-engined cars started putting up strong performances.
The second qualifying run was done on a rather dry track so people like Djan were giving crazy runs – he scored 24/25 for angle, 23/25 for line and 20/20 for speed, plus the style factor for a 91.4%!!
Here are the results of the Top 32 Qualifying:
1. Tengku Djan, 91.40%, 82kph
2. Ju Red Bull, 85.70%, 73kph
3. Mai Overdrive, 83.50%, 66kph
4. Mick PTT, 81.40%, 62kph
5. Oat Overdrive, 81.30%, 62kph
6. Non Overdrive, 79.70%, 62kph
7. Joe PTT, 78.60%, 66kph
8. D Kohkae Goodyear, 78.10%, 65kph
9. Neung RJ, 77.90%, 56kph
10. Keak Overdrive, 75.60%, 74kph
11. Namza, 74.50%, 68kph
12. Kiki Red Bull, 74.40%, 74kph
13. Karn Goodyear, 74.00%, 72kph
14. M PTT, 73.10%, 81kph
15. Kong Overdrive, 72.30%, 48kph
16. Pat Goodyear, 69.80%, 65kph
17. Dre PTT, 69.40%, 66kph
18. Pond Red Bull, 69.00%, 78kph
19. Nu, 68.60%, 69kph
20. Oat Red Bull, 68.60%, 55kph
21. Mose X-Shop, 68.00%, 71kph
22. S Goodyear, 67.80%, 69kph
23. Vichai, 67.70%, 68kph
24. Aek New Folder, 66.20%, 66kph
25. Amm Overdrive, 65.70%, 61kph
26. Man Maxxis Kosol Thungsong, 65.60%, 68kph
27. Mark, 65.50%, 73kph
28. Pop Big Cola Goodyear, 65.40%, 53kph
29. Go Falken, 65.10%, 65kph
30. Tong Red Bull, 64.80%, 55kph
31. Mai Top Autotire Yokohama, 62.90%, 52kph
32. Non Ruammai, 62.10%, 65kph
Joe PTT was doing ok, scoring 78.6% for his first run, and was ready to better his score in the second run when his left tyre axle broke as he initiated. Well, thankfully his score was good enough to put him in 7th!
Joe has three flags on his car now – Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. The Thai flag because he is Thai (duh), Indonesian flag because his sponsor Achilles is from there, so why the Singapore flag you might ask? I leave you to ponder…
You know who was missing from the qualifying list? Ser Ming Hui aka Ah Fai!! He was doing well on Saturday, qualifying in the Top 16 with a car he has never driven before prior to this weekend. He was invited by his friend in Thailand to drive and he only had less than 10 runs in it before Round 4 – 2 runs during Friday practice, 2 runs during Saturday practice, 2 runs in Saturday’s qualifying, 2 runs during the Top 16 battle on Saturday when he lost. There were some problems with the car’s settings – he managed to resolve it for Saturday but new issues emerged and it was a bad day for him on Sunday when he failed to qualify.
There was a break after qualifying where drivers can take a break and sponsors can have their audience games. The PTT booth had their five celebrity drivers playing games with the crowds and giving out the colourful dinosaurs. It was gonna be a long long day ahead with the Top 32 battles all the way to the Top 2.
Spot Djan in the crowd during the pit walkabout!
After a strong showing in qualifying, all eyes were on Djan as he took Non Rummai, Dre PTT (the big-haired DJ) and Aek New Folder (what a name right? I think ‘New Folder’ is the name of his business) to make it to the Top 4.
Doing very well and exceeding expectations to meet Djan in the Top 4 is Mick PTT! He ran a good run during the wet qualifying round and scored 81.4%. He then beat Go Falken, Oat Red Bull, Oat Overdrive to secure a place in the Top 4, a trophy guaranteed.
I spoke to him before he went for his semi-final battle with Djan and he said he wasn’t nervous at all after he cleared Top 16. To him there is no pressure and he just wanted to have fun. Taking it easy, he beat Djan to make it to the Top 2! Djan made a mistake and straightened, costing him the win. But this is exactly what Mick meant… just go out there and do your best, hopefully it will be enough!
Meeting Mick in the final battle was Non Overdrive, reigning drift champion of Thailand who has won for four years in a row already. He took Mark, S Goodyear, fellow team-mate Mai Overdrive before meeting Ju Red Bull in the semi-final. I like watching Ju drift because he has this super aggressive style and he does very well on high-speed entry tracks.
Every time I see him (after the day is over of course) he’s drinking beer or some hard liquor and his voice is so hoarse and raspy; I suspect it’s the alcohol over-indulgence. It’s a pity he lost to Non in the Top 4, so he went against Djan to fight for third place. Djan seemed to be having some little stroke of bad luck in the battles, losing to Ju and having to settle for fourth.
So the final for Round 4 was left between Mick and Non. Mick was really on a roll man; I thought he did very well against Non and for a moment even thought he might win it. But the judges called for One More Time as the battle was too close and too equally-matched. Mick came back to the pits to change tyres, borrowing Joes’s! Haha.. Btw, Non was using his spare car for Round 4 because his gearbox of his usual car spoilt the day before when running against Neung RJ in the battle for 3rd/4th.
So Mick and Non went for a re-run… The results were only announced at the prize-giving area and it was Non who took the win. It was an incredible effort from Mick though; the highest he has ever achieved I believe.
There were less crashes on Sunday as the track was of a lower speed. Still, there were some and one of the crashes even brought out a dog onto the track. This dog is one of many stray dogs that live at the track. The emcees named this one Murphy and joked that he acts like a supervisor to ensure everything is back in place. When the barriers were nicely placed, Murphy knew how to follow the crane back to the pits!
The day ended at about 11pm and I was just exhausted. I brought extra batteries, extra memory cards and I used them all! I started to feel a little sad towards the end of the weekend. I enjoy being at motorsports events and it’s so nice to have familiar faces, especially in a foreign land when the language is completely unknown to you.
There was another drift competition the following weekend – M-Max Speed Party at BRC and I really wanted to stay on and watch but I had to return for my four-hour kart endurance race. Joe did very well at M-Max though, qualifying first with 100 points and then beating Vichai, Pete PTT, Keak Overdrive, S Goodyear and Kiki Red Bull to win! Wish I was there to catch all the action..!
The next round of All Star is sometime end of August and I may be going up, anyone keen on going up together? Let me know and we can have a little Singapore ‘convoy’ there!