I woke up to a chilly morning on Sunday and frowned at the grey skies outside. After fighting the rule-less traffic of Jakarta, I arrived at the post-rain wet JI Expo grounds for the Formula Drift Indonesia 2012. Just as I was preparing to go out onto the track and position myself to shoot the tandem battle practice, the skies opened and heavy rain poured mercilessly for the next few hours.
The rain kept on falling and the water level kept rising.
The drivers were sitting on their cars or in their cars to hide from the rain, but the water level kept rising.
Amandio was hiding in a car too, with a mysterious chick!
Finally, the rain eased and the water went away.
Judges Andy Yen, Kevin Wells and Dai Yoshihara went out to inspect the track with the Driftpac team and they decided to make the track smaller so that the speeds, and hence the risk of accident, will be lowered.
The two-hour morning practice of the Formula Drift Indonesia 2012 session was cancelled due to the rain but the drivers were given a quick 45-minute practice so they could adjust to the new track.
Since only 24 drivers qualified, there were several ‘bye’ runs in the Top 32. To save time in order to make it for the ‘live’ window broadcast on ESPN STAR Sports, the drivers with the ‘bye’ runs need not do the single run initially required and there were just eight battles in the Top 32.
That went by quickly and it was time for the Top 16 driver parade.
But first, there was a dance item on the track. I was told that there were two contrasting types of dance – before the Top 32 there was a cultural dance and then before the Top 16 there was this ‘modern’ dance. Wow, times have changed huh?
Once the heels left the track, the Top 16 drivers drove out in their cars for their introduction to the crowd.
The Top 16 of the Formula Drift Indonesia 2012 included – in no particular order – Daigo Saito, Tengku Djan, Amandio, Bullzai, Rio SB, Dika CH, Non Overdrive, Rulli Armando, Robbie Nishida, Fredric Aasbo, Danny Boy, Regi Anggoro, Ken Gushi, Josh Boettcher, Bimo and Dean Zen.
Robbie looked like he had a very hard time trying to get his cap on – head getting big?
Ken Gushi struck a really cool pose – how’s that for the poster boy of the Formula Drift Asia X Casio G-Shock collaboration?
The crowd went wild when Fredric started throwing free t-shirts over the fence to the fans.
Finishing second at last year’s Formula Drift Indonesia, hopes were high for Armando who flew the flag on his car.
The Sweet 16 battles got into swing and halfway through there was a threat of rain but it was just a quick drizzle thankfully.
Fredric got past Regi of Indonesia in the Top 16, before meeting Josh Boettcher of Australia in the Top 8. Some thought it was a close battle between both that might call for a OMT (One More Time), but the win went to Fredric. He met Daigo in the Top 4 and lost, hence moving to the battle for third.
Ken Gushi has not gone on the podium at Formula Drift since he came in third at Singapore last year.
He got past Dean Zen in the Top 16, but met good friend Robbie in the Great 8.
He didn’t get past Robbie though and had to exit the track as Robbie lined up to go against Djan in the Top 4… which he lost.
Amandio was supposed to compete in the entire Formula Drift USA Series this year with the former Chris Forsberg 350Z he bought over. However, he stopped after two rounds because he moved back to Indonesia, telling me that he couldn’t concentrate on his studies there. The Fairlady is also back on the market.
Amandio once finished in the overall top three of the Formula Drift Asia series, but haven’t managed to maintain that as fresh blood is constantly injected into the series. He lost to Djan in the Top 16 this time.
Djan went on to take out another Indonesian in the Great 8, where he beat Rio SB. Rio did put up a really strong performance and it was a pity he could not repeat his success in Singapore where he finished second. Djan then beat Robbie to move on to the final.
On the other side of the bracket, Daigo beat Bullzai in the Top 16, before taking out Saranon of the Thai M150 Overdrive Team in the Great 8 and Fredric in the Top 4.
Finally meeting after conquering each side of their bracket, Djan was aiming to beat Daigo but later said in the post-event press conference that he “might have gotten his hopes too high”.
Fredric was thrilled with his third place achievement, a good start to what might be a career in Formula Drift Asia too?
The winners of the Formula Drift Asia 2012 finale may have been quite predictable, but it was one hell of a weekend with the hot sun one day and the horrible rain another.
Daigo has been strong, too strong, and some have voiced out their opinions of wanting more competition that could challenge him.
Otherwise, it might just be akin to the Michael Schumacher-Ferrari period in Formula 1 of total domination.
Djan finished second overall to Daigo and Rio followed up in third overall. Here are the rest of the overall standings:
I can’t wait for Formula Drift Asia 2013, especially with its new venue SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA!
View more of my Formula Drift Indonesia photos here.
View videos of the battles on my YouTube channel.