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D1GP 2006 Kick-off
Thursday, March 30, 2006 Posted by: Torry
Round 1, 2005 champ Kazama kicks the season off with a big win at Irwindale, and as always, NICO was there covering the action.
Special thanks to our very own Justin “Bling” Derendal of http://www.JDActionPhoto.com for clicking some KILLER pics!!!
D1 kicked its 2006 series off here in California with Round One. 15,000 fans gathered from across the United States to witness the finest level of drifting. 2005 Champion Yasuyuki Kazama took first place in this event to start the season off right. Kazama has been a consistent Irwindale winner since 2004 when he tasted his first victory here in the states. Following the season opener in 2005 he again battled his way to the top and took first again.
In December 2005, D1 held its annual USA vs. JAPAN exhibition event at Irwindale, where for the first time Kazama was knocked out of the brackets in the first round by JR Gittin, an American driver. Later that night, Gittin proved to be the winner and made history as the first American to win a D1 event. A win well deserved.
With disheartening memories fresh from a couple months ago, Kazama made his way to Irwindale to redeem himself and to prove that he is still on top. Defeating fan favorites like Ken Nomura, and the infamous Team Orange (Kazuhiro Tanaka and Nobushige Kumakubo) he worked his way to the top and claimed his victory making this win a threepeat.
American driver Samuel Hubinette ran beautifully in practice and in competition with top entry speeds and earning top points in qualifying. Hubinette piloting the Dodge Viper SRT-10 was penalized in the semifinals as he false started in his first run in his match against Kumakubo. With his last chance to recover his momentum, Hubinette spins on the final corner forfeiting his chance for the finals.
For more pictures, check out the following photo album!