The Australian Drift Grand Prix has been up and running for the last five years. Every year, the competition continues to get more fierce, amidst competitors rebuilding their cars nearly every round. These cars continue to get lighter with new engine configurations every round that not only push the boundary’s but also push the budget.
Round 3 took place in South Australia at the well known Mallala race track, being only a one hour drive from Adelaide this track is very accessible for those who live in Adelaide. But, if you have driven from Melbourne it is a 9-hour trip with 3 cans of V and lots of bad food.
It was great to see that Micheal Bonney had made the trip up with his trusty s15! complete with new livery design and a few little aero add-ons.
Mallala is a very flat and open track, great if you’re trying to track predators yet not super interesting to the eye. The track is similar to Winton Race Way in the fact that it is a very dry wide open track, the advantage of this is if you mess up your not really going to hit anything but sandtraps.
In all my time I have never seen a temporary grandstand made permanent, constructed of compressed wood boards and scaffolding this grandstand had some serious character. Walking on this was like a chose your own adventure book, patched together like an inherited patchwork quilt. With every step you could feel this raw construction gowning underweight, with one wrong step and you could plummet to the ground!
Rob Whyte’s car looked as though it was having some early morning teething problems, yet i was confident we would see him and his wild machine on track regardless of any problems the car was having.
The always hard charging Micheal Rosenblatt was back in great form, the car looked fantastic and his driving was quickly on point.
This was only the second time Rob Whytes new car had competed this year. Although he has taken out the championship many years in a row this year looks to be his hardest on record.
This car is the second loudest car I have every witnessed with its all new modified sprint car v8! the sound literally causes your inner ear to retreat further into your skull for protection. Josh Boettcher is a serious contender! well traveled with a huge amount of experience and tonnes of talent.
Drivers had free run of the track most of the day with no local club traffic to deal with! this meant the pro’s could really get a great handle on the track’s layout. Getting as close to the clipping points while keeping up the speed on this track was the main aim! While many couldn’t get the snap transition into the second corner quite right, Josh Boettcher looked to have no trouble with this section at all.
After the middle snap transition was a long corner that seemed to continue forever, Some drivers could turn this into great angle near the end of the corner while other chose to maintain a medium angle around the whole corner.
Brent Gordon has really stepped up his game! Qualifying first! beating a whole host of super experienced pro’s while navigating the clipping points like his car was on rails.
Battle weapon always puts on a great show! Finny O’hare really know what he his doing behind the wheel yet when those competition nerves get the best of him sometimes he makes silly mistakes.
Putting down some solid runs Finny managed to Qualify tenth position setting himself right in the middle of the pack.
The R31 skyline is over 20 years old, but this chassis can still hold its own against some of the most modern cars of today. Jack Widdas keeps being knocked out by the top 5 drivers in the championship only because he often gets a raw deal when it comes to the top 16. We predict that next season he will move from the top ten group up into the top 5.
The top 32 battles were over very quickly with not many re-runs or stoppages during the competition. The top 16 grid looked ready for war with many of the drivers gaining surprise entry’s into the top 16. One being Catherine May who had earlier struggled with the course but now had forged her way up the ladder with some big names making mistakes early.
Being a great driver across many disciplines takes incredible skill! Shane Van Gisbergen is one driver that not only competes in V8 Supercars, but also has driven at WTAC and now has found himself a spot in the Australian Drift Grand Prix. Qualifying filth with some incredible entry speeds plus great proximity to the clipping points shows that Shane know’s how to play the game.
The most violent car of the day was Michael Bonney’s crazy powerful S15. Michael’s car had such an extreme transitional snap whenever the handbrake was touched! it was like the car could go from lock to opposite lock within a fraction of a second.
Already known as one of the nicest guys in drift Matt Russell ended up sharing his car with Jarred Klingberg due to jarred’s car suffering a major engine problem in the top 32 battles.
Matt Russell always finds himself up against a super powerful car and often the power outweighs the light nimble AE86. With Some great chase runs and plenty of flair Matt fought hard to finish in the top 8.
The hero of the day was Micheal Rosenblatt! like a possessed warrior he took down many high ranking officers. It was a shame not to see Beau Yates up against Rosenblatt! unfortunately, Beau could not get the new engine swap complete in his Toyota 86 quick enough to compete in Round 3.
A true nail biting set of finals were on the cards with Rob Whyte out the championship was suddenly wide open for Nick Coulson / Micheal Rosenblatt the winner of this battle would determine the current leader of the series.
Levi Clarke is a strong contented and it was no surprise to see him in the final of round 3 up against the hard charging Rosenblatt! Never afraid of a chase
A well deserved win went to Micheal Rosenblatt, he knocked out the best of the best to claim the win with Levi Clarke hot on his heels in second place. Third place went to Brent Gordon who along with Micheal Rosenblatt were the stand out drivers of the day. With only one more round to go in the championship and just eighteen points separating the top two drivers anything could happen!
Thanks for reading,