[Credit: Dan Fegent Photography]
EXTREME DRIFT ALLSTARS ROUND 2
3rd May 2016
Extreme Drift Allstars Round 2 – British Drift GP
The second round of the 2016 Drift Allstars championship saw the series return to Europe after an explosive season opener at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The chosen venue for the British Drift GP – Lydden Hill Race Circuit in Kent – is a favourite with drift fans in the UK with record attendance of over 15,000 fans turning up to catch the action.
Round two saw the return of two Drift Allstars legends – current two-time Drift Allstars champion James Deane,and young teenage sensation Jack Shanahan, who made his return to the series in epic fashion, taking first place in qualifying following two astonishing high speed runs. Deane was on form too, taking second place, and Finnish sensation Juha Pöytälaakso drifted confidently into third.
2016 championship points leader and Monster Energy driver Steve ‘Baggsy’ Biagioni took a surprise early exit from the competition after failing to complete both his qualifying runs due to a technical issue. Then, following uncharacteristic spills into the gravel by both Deane and Shanahan in separate events late on in practice, the event looked open for the taking, with any one of the international roster of drivers – no fewer than nine countries over three continents represented across the board – able to step up to the mark.
The Top 16 played out in front of a huge crowd at Lydden Hill. Local driver Danny Grundy, who fared well at last year’s British Drift GP, got a pass through into the Top 8 after former UK champion Michael Marshall suffered car issues. 2015 Finnish Champion Juha Pöytälaakso eliminated UK driver Paul Howard in a battle that boasted a combined horsepower of over 1600bhp! While UK driver Martin Richards saw off fellow countryman Mark Lappage on one side of the bracket, Germany’s Max Heinrich eliminated UAE’s Sultan Al-Qassimi to progress into the Top 8.
The Top 8 threw up more surprises, further proving that nothing is certain in professional drifting. Jack Shanahan took a trip into the gravel again after a tyre un-seated itself on the final bend, granting French drifter Jérôme Vassia a place in the Semi Finals. Meanwhile, James Deane made light work of Danny Grundy, and Martin Richards upset the balance by disposing of Juha. In the final battle, Australia’s Aleksandar Kantarovski sent Max Heinrich packing.
Richards and Deane’s Semi Final battles were fiercely fought, with the current champion Deane just edging it into the finals.
Meanwhile Kantarovski couldn’t keep up with Vassia, but would meet and beat Richards in the 3rd Place Playoff.
The excitement didn’t subside as the final between Drift Allstars veteran James Deane and newcomer Vassia got underway. With Deane leading first, Vassia simply didn’t have the pace to keep up and, following a textbook chase run by Deane, the second round of the 2016 Drift Allstars championship was sewn up.
“It feels fantastic to be back on the podium,” commented James Deane. “This was my first event back defending my title and we did it again! Huge thank you to my team and sponsors for all of their continued support in the off season to get the car ready and here for this event.”
Final results from the British Drift GP: Round 2
1. James Deane / Ireland
2. Jerome Vassia / France
3. Aleksander Kantarovski / Australia
4. Martin Richards / UK