With more than 40 cars due to hit the track and pit crews working feverishly, the morning air smelled like sweet E85. After a year the Australian Drift Grand Prix has traveled all around Australia and returned to Calder Park for the final round of the championship.
The pits were alive with the sound of wild horse power but the track was dormant. Soon thousands of dollars worth of tyres were about to be embedded into Melbourne’s home of motorsport Calder Park Raceway.
In the early morning many were hurrying to apply new sponsor stickers as they quickly unloaded their trailer loads of tyres and tools.
Prosnik’s car was running a different set of wheels this weekend making the S13 look even more aggressive than usual. This new bling helped to intimidate the competition whilst showing them that Prosnik is here to stay and is a real threat in the world of drift within Australia.
Beau Yates was finally back in the seat of his very well prepared Toyota sponsored 86. Probably the best modified 86 within Australia complete with the extensively modded Boxer engine. No cheating here; only hard work, dedication and a hell of a lot of testing / tuning.
This S14 is not just a pretty face! It is one serious drift weapon with years and years of high level experience. John Papadopoulos is the man behind this great looking Silvia. It was looking better than it had for many years but as we all know drift has a way of tarnishing the silverware.
A very strange Commodore was showing some Nissans how it’s done. A turbo Commodore? It is not a VL! How could this be? It is not a V8! It’s a Nissan in disguise!
A relative newcomer to ADGP; Finny O’Hare with his battle weapon r33 was showing the crowd how it is done. Because this course closely resembled the one set up for Formula Drift Asia it was very challenging for many drivers who had not experienced this type of layout before.
Ryan was throwing it hard at this wall and Andrew Hawkins took the opportunity to capture the action. Every driver has their own style yet the crowd really loves the drivers that show personality through their driving.
Ryan was looking good Saturday but by Sunday things started to go wrong. First there was loosing a lead run against Jabbot because of an intercooler pipe that blew off and then other steering issues. This was not what he had planned for the weekend.
The widest R32 competing in ADGP has to be Michael Rosenblatt’s. This car has seen its fair set of changes since the series started and I’m sure this car will continue to transform in the newcoming season.
Consistent performance is the key to success although Michael regularly places in the top ten during most rounds. His continued achievements over 2013 are setting him up for even better results in 2014.
Not only were the national drivers impressing the judges but also some of the drivers competing in the state competition like Brent Gordon.
Probably the best looking helmet design in ADGP John Papadopoulos knows how to present a professional drift team. Although helmet designs are something not all drivers think about it’s one of those things that can help set your team apart from others.
The cool elephant skin pattern also extended onto the car livery. John wasn’t hitting the clipping points as well as the judges wanted but he kept pushing it all weekend and soon got a good handle on this advanced track layout.
Josh was putting it all on the line desperately striving for a top result. His initial entries were ferocious! No one else was giving the first corner as much commitment as Josh.
On the Saturday the rain hit only for an hour or so but it was enough to drastically change track conditions for the worst. Some drivers could handle the damp track whilst others spun out more than once per lap.
The rain slowed down the drift action which gave the drivers a chance to practice wall proximity.
This was a sure sign that the grip was returning to the track. Having a tyre rip off your car while going sideways at speed is not all shits and giggles. Alex kept his drift on! The crowd loved it and cheered!
The track soon dried up and the smoke returned much to the crowds delight. From that point on the drifting got better and better.
For the first time the other side of the track was opened up to spectators. A serious portion of the giant thistles had been removed and new concrete seating had been constructed. This gave the crowd a chance to see the show from a new perspective.
James Abbott (Jabbot) certainly knows how to hype up the crowd! A great driver with more ‘flare’ than finesse; but super high entertainment value!
Here you can see Josh midway through a wheel throw. He was constantly attacking the course with the same intensity he arrived with.
This R33 was laying down some serious skids with plenty of gusto! It was making real power off the first downhill sweeping corner.
3 Fingers Neat always put on a good show! With plenty of 2j power Schembri would bake the finish line to give the crowd a good soaking of tyre spray.
An unexpected Jack Widdas took the #1 spot in national qualifying in the GH Haulage R31 Skyline.
With Rob Whyte looking on, Beau Yates managed to put in a killer performance during qualifying to secure #2 spot with Dale Campaign coming in a close third.
I have never heard of a drift car running off straight gas until now! Meet Sean’s crowd pleasing XP Falcon complete with Au 4ltr turbo engine.
Everything is getting better at drift events and even the food! That’s right we occasionally stop to grab a bite!
The defending champion was pushing hard to put points on the board. He suffered from a few car dramas over the weekend but held it together and put in a respectable performance.
Had Rob Whyte done enough to hang on to the championship for a second time? The points were incredibly close. Andrew Hawkins kept his cards close to his chest and we would only find out after the final battle.
Three top level drivers all in one shot. Unfortunately none of them could stop Beau or Prosnik from battling their way to the top.
This was the best drifting I had seen this year period! Beau Yates had the 86 screaming and scraping doors with Michael Rosenblatt. The battle got replayed several times and each time it was so incredibly close that the judges had a very hard time picking a winner.
When these epic battles were over the ADGP media crew rushed to interview them and to let Beau know that he was through into the next battle. Michael Rosenblatt performance was so good that the subsequent final battles were boring in comparison. Michael had stuck to Beau’s door like glue and nobody came close to repeating that feat.
Putting Victoria on the map was the peoples champ Michael Prosnik, complete with his own cheer squad / crew. He placed second over the weekend and third overall in the championship.
Beau Yates took out first place winning his first round of this season! The 86 did not miss a beat and it was great to finally see Beau back on the podium where he belongs.
Our driver Jason Ferron continues to kick goals with a third placing in the state competition. He had some seriously close battles against Brad Tuohy and Brent Gordon but luckily got himself onto the podium.
Rob Whyte almost lost the championship to Nick Coulson! However, he had just had enough points to win his second ADGP championship in a row. Winning back to back championships is no easy task. Can the man repeat his performance in the new upcoming season of ADGP? Only time will tell…