Welcoming a sold-out crowd for the first time at downtown Long Beach, the Formula Drift Pro Series 2012 took off in great fashion, with one of the tightest qualifying ever as drivers qualified within a point of each other. A repeat of history was witnessed when the final battle saw Justin Pawlak go up against Daijiro Yoshihara again.
Like last year, Dai’s America’s Tire/Falken Tire S13 lost to the Falken Tire Ford Mustang of JTP and Dai was a little frustrated. He said, “I met JTP twice last season and I lost to him both times. This time I really wanted to beat him but I didn’t, so I’m kinda frustrated. Still, a second place is a good start to the year..”
A most interesting highlight of the day had to be the battle of Dai vs. Daigo! The 2011 Formula Drift USA and Formula Drift Asia champions met in the semi-finals and it was the first time they ever competed against each other.
Daigo lost to Dai this time, but you can be sure he will not let Dai off so easy. He said, “My aim is to finish first in everything I compete in and I’m a little disappointed that I only came in third, but I will keep trying my best and the top is always my goal. Was it tough against Dai? Well if it was easy I would have won! Ha ha ha!”
Daigo has proven to be a strong force to be reckoned with, clinching a podum finish on his Formula Drift USA debut in third after beating Matt Powers in the battle for third.
Don’t forget – It’s Daigo’s first time competing in the States and although he feels a little uncomfortable largely because of the language barrier (he cannot speak English at all except for “Thank you” and “Bye”), he adapts to the track quickly and just wants to win.
Here are the results of the rest of the battles:
Congratulations JTP, Dai and Daigo!
Here are more shots from Day 2:
During the drivers’ meeting I stole a quick shot with the boys from Speedhunters.com (Rod Chong and Larry Chen):
For a moment this may seem like circuit racing, but on closer look you realise it’s the Top 16 driver parade:
I wouldn’t mind having such a pretty bonnet damper!
During the champagne spray-out, Dai and JTP popped their bottles first and poor Daigo literally got sprayed off his block.
He took his time to open his bottle and got JTP back IN THE FACE!
For more photos, view: