Round 2 Formula D at Road Atlanta
Sunday, May 8, 2005
Posted by: Torry
TV COVERAGE BROADCAST: June 12th, 2005 on G4TV at 10:00pm EST
Wow, what a great weekend! Enjuku Racing once again represented NICO at the Formula Drift event at Road Atlanta. Rob Fleming (Garage Battle) had pre-qualified from round 1 by making the top 20.However, Matt Vassallo (mattback) qualified Friday night to run again on Saturday in the top 32.
After the top 32 qualifying rounds Friday night, they had an open practice for the pre-seated top 20.It was a nice change from last year, because this year the competition was held at night.Seeing cars drift with headlights through their dust clouds was much nicer than under the hot blistering sun.
Enjuku really got their name noticed on Friday night as well, as they introduced the first color-smoking tires ever seen at a drift event.Both Rob and Matt were running these new Kumho tires, that when smoked, emit a bright red dust cloud.It was easy to distinguish the Enjuku cars from the other simply by the tire smoke as they came around the course.
Saturday began in the mid afternoon with qualifying for the sweet 16.At this point, cars ran one practice run, then two judged laps. All 32 cars ran one at a time.When the qualifying was over, there was an hour break, as well as a drivers meeting to find out who made the sweet 16.Even though Matt had an excellent run in qualifying, he unfortunately placed 17th—one place away from making the sweet 16.He also broke a control arm in the first turn of his final run, which only allowed him to have one good qualifying run.You can do it next time Matt! 17th is still awesome considering there were nearly 40 cars in competition. Rob however, qualified 16th. So for the first time this season, Enjuku got a car into the sweet 16, which has a ton more publicity, as it is the first final qualifier, and also the point where cars begin tandem competition.
In the sweet 16, each driver was announced one at a time, and then drove one exhibition lap to “say hi” to the crowd.Whether it was smoking the crowd out in a heavy tire cloud, or stopping and throwing t-shirts into the crowd, each driver had their own unique way of showing off.Rob chose to simply cover the crowd in a bright red dust cloud as he drifted through the course.
Competition was on.Each pair of drivers (8 total) ran two runs each.Each got their turn to follow once, and lead once.During Rob’s first sweet 16 run, he was paired up against the #1 qualifier going into the sweet 16, Calvin Wan, in a twin turbo G35.Rob lead the first run, but unfortunately went into turn one too hot and spun.Calvin drifted past and had the lead going into the 2nd run.On the 2nd run, Rob pushed Calvin hard, and ran a near flawless run.However, Calvin never spun, so Rob did not get to move on.
Competition went on with the great 8, then down to the final 4. Calvin Wan, in his G35, ran Daijiro Yoshihara in a Nissan S13 Silvia and spun, which gave Daijiro the 3rd place finish. The final competition of the night came down to Sam Hubinette in a Dodge Viper vs. Rhys Millen in a Pontiac GTO, where Sam took 1st and Rhys finished 2nd.
Overall it was a great accomplishment for Team Enjuku.NICO would like to thank Kumho tires for their support with the Enjuku team, and the new Kumho ECSTA MX-C tires.We would also like to congratulate the entire Enjuku team, and give a special thanks to Rob and Matt who are the ones who actually push the car sideways around the track.Without them, the team wouldn’t exist.Thanks again guys!And I hope to see you in Houston for round 3.Maybe we can get both cars into the sweet 16, or even the great 8.I know you guys can do it! – Torry
Contact Info: Torry