Thank you for the patience and sorry I did not have the chance to update my blog with the results of the FX Open Drift Series Round 3 at KL Speed City over the weekend.
The event wrapped up at 6-ish yesterday evening, but I stayed back to interview drivers and at the same time got some autographs too. Heading back to the hotel for a shower after that, it was dinner at a seafood restaurant (heh, dinners in M’sia always seem to involve seafood) before we started driving back to Singapore just before midnight.
It was raining heavily so we couldn’t go fast and I still had to return to office to unload the t-shirts, so by the time I got home it was 5.30am! Going to bed at 6am, I was exhausted and hence I could only update my blog with the results now.
Qualifying was postponed to Sunday morning from Saturday afternoon. The format at FX Open is slightly different from that of Formula Drift – each participant gets a warm-up lap before going for three individual runs. From the three runs, the best score is taken and the top 16 goes on to compete in tandem battles.
A total of 21 cars competed – mostly from Malaysian of course - and competition favourite Tengku Djan did not disappoint by qualifying top with consistent top scores of 98, 92 and 95 (hence best score is 98) with his orange and black Nissan 180SX with the ‘duck bill’ bumper. BEAT THAT.
Qualifying second is Ser Ming Hui (aka Ah Fai) in his bright green Nissan 180SX with scores of 82, 77 and 86. Hanizam (Loyai) came in third followed by Hashiguti Anderson in fourth.
The rest of the qualifying results are as follows:
After a break, the top 16 drivers got ready for the tandem battles. First up was Tengku Djan and Michael Gan – the judges called for One More Time TWICE before finally declaring that Djan moves on.
Ser Ming Hui (aka Ah Fai) was up next against Rhenadi Arinton of Indonesia - Something seemed wrong with Rhenadi’s car and he unfortunately spun during his chase run, hence Ah Fai moves on.
Koh Kok Hoor and his lorry-like car went up against Evgeny Satyukov of Russia next and it was Kok Hoor who went on.
Ivan Lau and his newly-turbocharged baby met Johan Norman next and Johan put up an impressive fight against Ivan, closing in on him tightly during the chase.
One More Time was called for them and it was a ‘bumper-ful’ battle as Johan’s rear bumper caught a banner and dragged it along with him while Ivan’s rear bumper fell off suddenly towards the end.
Just as I predicted, Ivan Lau never fails to lose his bumper (either front or rear) at every drift event that he participates in. It was Ivan Lau who moved on by the way.
Next up was a pair of Goodyear Racing drivers Hanizam (aka Loyai) and Jane Cheah the only female competitor. Jane has improved tremendously and so has Loyai with his new engine. Not giving the lady any face, Hanizam ‘pop’ ‘pop’ ‘pop’ his way through and moved on.
Now, Brazilian-Japanese Hashiguti Anderson met Fazreen Ismail and Hashiguti was leading the first run when a most horrifying incident occurred.
Fazreen lost control after the first turn and headed straight for the barriers, mounting it in the process and frightening many spectators. No, I did not ‘predict’ the crash but for some reason, while the other photographers were panning the lead car, my camera was trained on Fazreen. Check out my shots:
The driver Fazreen came out of his car and walked away unharmed, even able to wave to the crowds to show that he is fine. What a scary crash though – did you see the people in the photo backing away into the tent? Luckily no spectator or photographer was injured!
Hashiguti automatically moved on, while some time was spent for the recovery to clean up the track and remove debris.
Tony Angelo got a new car after overturning his during practice the day before and met Ariff Johanis (husband of Jane Cheah). Totally new to the car and not familiar with the set-up, I have to say that Tony has the guts to take a car just like that and drift on such a tough track.
During the second run of the battle when Tony was chasing Ariff, something happened after the first turn. Again. Have a look at the pictures I caught:
Needless to say, it was Ariff who move on.
Tan Tat Wei met Mervyn Nakamura next and it was a good battle, but Tat Wei was just too good, putting up a brilliant performance and blowing Mervyn away to move on.
That was the last of the Top 16 battles and there was 20-minute break for a drivers’ autograph session before the Top 8 battles began.
In the Top 8, Tengku Djan met Koh Kok Hoor first and easily moved on to the Top 4. Ah Fai and Ivan Lau are next, and although Ivan is really a good drifter, Ah Fai was no match that weekend and went on to the Top 4 just as easily.
Again, another Goodyear Racing battle was witnessed as Hanizah met Ariff.
Hanizam was really on the ball all weekend and after One More Time, made it to the Top 4.
In the last of the Top 4 battles, Tat Wei and Hashiguti fought for the last spot and it was Hashiguti who beat Tat Wei to take the last place in the final four.
Of the final four – Tengku Djan, Ah Fai, Hanizam and Hashiguti – I wanted a Djan-Fai final and was keeping my fingers crossed!
Djan met Hanizam and were asked to go for One More Time. In the repeat battle, Djan bumped into Hanizam but moves on to the final two anyway. YES! One step closer to the Djan-Fai battle!
Ah Fai met Hashiguti next and it was Fai who progresses to the last two – YES!!!
The battle for third place between Hanizam and Hashiguti took place first – Hanizam spun during his chase run and came to a halt, literally handing third place to Hashiguti on a platter.
Then came the fight for the top spot!
The Djan-Fai battle is really all it takes to make my weekend worth the trip up to Malaysia. I was even thinking, how many One More Times will be called by the judges?
Djan led first and he did better than Fai, earning an advantage which he could turn into a win of the weekend if he puts up an equally brilliant chase.
During the chase, Djan was putting the pressure on Fai and looking good until disaster struck. He was in the middle of Turn 3 when he missed a gear on the exit and straightened out. You should have heard the groans from the crowds man!
It was like the crowd knew it was over!
Ah Fai went on to complete the run before driving up with Djan to the judges’ booth to wait for the verdict. Fans of Djan were hoping for a One More Time so he could salvage the situation, while fans of Fai were almost begging from the bottoms of their hearts to end it as it was quite obvious that Djan’s mistake cost him the win.
Nope, no One More Time was called and after a loooong while to prepare for the prize presentation, the organisers announced the winners. Congratulations Ah Fai for winning the FX Open Round 3 and pocketing RM 100,000 for your hard work all weekend!
This is Ah Fai’s first major win and I had the opportunity to interview him after the event. I can’t wait to write the article, look out for it in the next issue of 9tro magazine!