Red Bull Achilles Drift Team Thailand’s Daychapon Toyingcharoen (nicknamed Pond) comes across as a soft-spoken and humble person, always greeting you with a huge smile on his face with a slight bow of the head and the traditional Thai salutory hand gesture (ie. hands in prayer position).
You would never have thought that it is the same person who sent Daigo Saito for One More Time (OMT) not once, but TWICE in the semi-finals – altogether battling against Daigo three times and pushing Daigo to the point where he was “on his toes” and just anxious “to get it over and done with”.
Pond qualified 13th with his best score of 70.3%, behind the rest of his team-mates who qualified higher – Ju qualified 4th, Tong qualified 7th and Kiki qualified 8th.
His first battle in Round of 32 was against Indonesian female drifting darling Alinka Hardianti (only 19 years old) but as much of a gentleman as Pond is, he finished Alinka off and found himself up against his own team-mate Ju in the Sweet 16.
Ju is a strong contender and usually the better of the two, but he made a huge error and went spinning off course during the lead run. Apparently his gear ratio broke the day before and he changed a new one for Sunday with settings that weren’t quite right yet.
Ju gave a good chase but it was too late as Pond already had a big advantage from the first run where Ju spun, so onwards Pond went to the Great 8 to meet Indonesian Rhenadi Arinton (nicknamed Rowdy).
Rhenadi made a mistake when he was leading and caused Pond to mess up his run. Rhenadi then called for 5 minutes to work on his car, while Pond waited at the start line for him for the second run (where Rhenadi gave chase).
There were some issues with Rhenadi’s car and similarly to Ju in the previous battle of Pond’s, Rhenadi’s mistake in the first run gave Pond the advantage. That boosted Pond into the semi-final against Daigo.
See video of their first battle as Daigo chased Pond:
As I mentioned earlier, Pond really made Daigo work hard in the semi-final, attacking him so aggressively. After the first battle, the judges called for OMT.
This is the video of the second battle (Daigo chasing Pond) after the judges called OMT:
OMT was called AGAIN and Daigo was getting anxious, wanting to get this battle done with so he can advance to the final.
Here are the videos of both runs in the third battle between Daigo and Pond:
As you can see in the third and final battle between Daigo and Pond, the latter made errors in both runs, handing the win to Daigo – finally.
That was Pond’s last run of the day as he was given third place automatically (battle for 3rd/4th placing cancelled) due to Rio SB out of the competition after his driveshaft broke in the battle against Armando.
Only conversant in Thai and Japanese, team captain Kiki helped to translate the interview with Pond for me. Pond is of Thai nationality but his business has a factory in Thailand as well as in Japan, hence he can speak the Japanese language.
Pond started drifting in Japan five years ago and joined the Red Bull Achilles Drift Team Thailand this year, participating in national drifting series back home in Thailand as well as in Formula Drift Asia.
With his ever-smiling face, Pond told me: “It is every driver’s dream to win but the main point is to put up a good show and entertain the crowd, making sure that they enjoy the show. That is just as, if not more, important than winning. Of course once I’m in the car and on the track I gave the best I could.”
A truly humble chap indeed.
So how did it feel during the battle with Daigo?
He said: “I have a lot of respect for Daigo and I am very proud to have been able to put up such a good fight with him in the semi-final. I felt like ‘Hey! I’m not that bad after all!’ and there was hope for a moment there that I could win so I just tried my best.”
Well done Pond, you did the Thais proud!
Pond will also be heading to Formula Drift Malaysia next in December.
Other Formula Drift Indonesia stories:
For more photos, see here:
Formula Drift Indonesia 2011 Album #2 - Saturday