Daigo Saito won this third Formula Drift Asia round yesterday at the first ever FD Indonesia. He won FD Singapore in June and before that, he won the FD Asia 2010 finale in Malaysia last December on his FD debut.
Daigo was formidable all weekend, giving a strong performance throughout – in practice, qualifying and in tandem battle – except for a fleeting moment during the semi-final against Daychapon Toyingcharoen (aka Pond) of the Red Bull Achilles Drift Team Thailand when it seemed like Daigo’s journey might come to an end… …
After crazy practice runs, it was no surprise that Daigo qualified first with his best score of 92.5% (he scored 90% on his first run). No one else came close to him as the next score was 79% by Indonesia rookie drifter Demas Agil. Favourites Ken Gushi, Saranon Pornpatanarak, Emmanuel Amandio and Robbie Nishida showed some disappointing runs during qualifying.
Daigo’s journey to the top started out quite easily, as he first beat Indonesian rookie TB Deyang in the Round of 32 and then beat Wahyu Andika Putra H. in Sweet 16.
In Great 8, he met Australian national drift champ Josh Boettcher but JB was using a borrowed car which he has never driven before prior to the weekend, while Daigo was using the same monster of a Toyota Altezza (with the 800bhp 2JZ engine) that he used in Singapore. JB made a false start on his lead run but he wasn’t penalised for that, although his tyre pressures were getting high.
See video of Daigo chasing JB in Great 8:
Into the semi-final, Daigo met Pond and that was where more light was put on the possibility of Daigo getting knocked out. With nothing to lose, Pond attacked aggressively and put up a tough fight, making Daigo work really hard for his ticket to the semi-final, with not one but TWO One More Times (OMT) called.
See video of their first battle as Daigo chased Pond:
Then this is the video of the second battle (Daigo chasing Pond) after the judges called OMT:
A second OMT was called and Daigo was getting anxious, wanting to get this battle done with and advance to the final. Pushed even harder by Daigo now, Pond’s errors in both runs gave Daigo the win finally.
Here’s both videos of the third battle between Daigo and Pond:
Muhammad Rulli Armando, only 19 years old of age and a national drift champion in the DriftBash Bali series, was waiting patiently for Daigo in the final. It was a quick affair, with Daigo powering perfectly through the course in both the lead and chase runs to take top spot.
See video of Daigo chasing Armando in the final:
Speaking to Daigo at the post-event press conference, he said: “Everything went the way I wanted this weekend, although I did have a little issue with the car when I had some trouble with the NOS. I was on my toes when I had to go for OMT twice with Pond. I wasn’t nervous; more like I just wanted to get it over and done with. I was focused and during the third battle again Pond I just went for it. I wasn’t expecting to win this weekend but I was going for the win.”
Other Formula Drift Indonesia stories:
For more photos, see here:
Formula Drift Indonesia 2011 Album #2 - Saturday