Text and photos by Shayna Heng
The scorching heat at A’ Famosa Malacca did little to dampen the exhilaration of motorsport enthusiasts and all drivers of the Westlake Drift Series (WDS) 2012 third and final round.
After a hard-fought weekend of battles, Lim Kim Wan (D-Wan) of Team Westlake Tyres emerged victorious in the Pro category.
His team-mates lived up to expectations too, with team manager-cum-driver Geoveen Hi winning the Expert category, while Winston Ang and Rocker Loh made it to the Top 16 of the Pro category.
Victory did not come easy for the drifters as they stood up to tough challenges posed by their competitors and faced difficulties with the technical third-gear track layout for the Novice and Expert categories and the fourth-gear track layout for the Pro category. Resolving car issues was another problem they had to face.
A sudden downpour during qualifying for the Novice and Expert Categories increased the level of challenge for the drifters with many going off course or spinning out. It was Wan Gajah who qualified first for the Novice category, followed by Joshua Tan and Adie.
In the final of the Novice category, both Joshua and Mizi spun out and the judges had to call One More Time twice. Third time lucky, Joshua managed to clear the course smoothly while Mizi spun again.
The Expert category final was between Geoveen and Ah Han, with Geoveen putting the pressure strongly on Ah Han till he spun during the first initiation, handing the title to Geoveen!
Pushing the starting point of the track back by 50 metres to transform the track into a fourth-gear one for the Pro category, entry speeds were raised to crazy numbers of 130 to 160km/h. Pressure was on WDS Round 2 winner Tan Tat Wei, who arrived at the track bright and early for practice with his distinct rotary engine sounds.
Of the 25 drivers who took part in the Pro category, only 23 qualified when the other two broke down. Qualifying first was Tat Wei, with Ee Yoong Cherng, Loyai, D-Wan and Bullzai in that order.
Having already won the Expert category, Geoveen had his eyes on the title for the Pro category. Things went on smoothly during practice for Geoveen, as he steered his machine aggressively into the turns at speeds up to 130km/h. Unfortunately Geoveen’s journey drew to a close when gear box succumbed to the extreme pressure of the hard fought battles of previous days.
Team Westlake Tyres’ hopes now remain with D-Wan, Rocker and Winston.
After suffering a punctured fuel tank on the first day and a worn-out twin-plate clutch on the second day that caused him to lose precious practice time, Winston managed to get back into the game when he found a compatible spare clutch.
Winston was up against fellow Singaporean Joshua Tan, first runner-up of the Novice category. Both cars made mistakes as they blasted through the course, but Winston managed to pressure Joshua out of the course when he followed Joshua’s machine real close on the chase.
Meeting Nazam next, Winston had to re-battle with two rounds of One More Time, eventually losing out on consistency when he straightened out. This gave Nazam the win and ended Winston’s journey.
The battle between D-Wan and Ah Han was a heart-thumping one as both drivers raced through the course sideways. It was D-Wan who had the better line and angle, hence taking the win.
D-Wan then met Bullzai, giving the judges a tough time reviewing the battle. Finally, after careful review of the videos, the unanimous decision was to give victory to D-Wan.
The next driver in D-Wan’s path was Tat Wei. Dashing hopes for the win, Tat Wei made a devastating mistake when he brushed off a tyre right before the finishing point, hence scoring zero on that run.
Moving on to the final, D-Wan was up against Yoong Cherng. Yoong had a rather easy entry into the final when Loyai’s gear shifter broke during his lead run against Yoong.
Sailing to victory, D-Wan wrapped up the WDS final round on a high note, doing Team Westlake Tyres proud.
Team Westlake Tyres team manager Geoveen, also the WDS Expert category winner, said, “The technical track layout of WDS requires high speed, precise steering angle and controlled throttle play, making it really challenging for the novices and also the all-time pro drifters.”
The inaugural season of WDS, in collaboration with ACE Suspension, was well-received and highly popular among drivers, spectators and supporters. The WDS 2013 season is likely to start in March 2013.
Team Westlake Tyres is a Singaporean-owned drift team consisting of two Singaporeans, Geoveen and Winston, as well as two Malaysians D-Wan and Rocker.