Formula D Long Beach: Part 2

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formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersOn Saturday morning in Long Beach, the drivers, crews, media, staff, and fans gathered next to the convention center to see who would take home the season’s first win. Could Justin Pawlak do it two years in a row? Would 2011 champ Daijiro Yoshihara continue his momentum and take the win? Would Chris Forsberg’s new 370 be a help or a hindrance in its first competition? Or would something completely unexpected happen?

formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersChris Harrington declared that the day’s photo challenge would be to catch Bil Baldwin’s beard as it flips up over his face. Who needs the proximity sensor with an accurate gauge like Bil’s beard?
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersThe drivers had a couple of hours to get some last minute practice time in before the big show.
 
Most of them were looking pretty solid.
 
Drivers such as Tuerck, Mertzanis, and Wilkerson are using the later generation kouki fronts on their cars this year. Rhys Millen decided to run the new kouki front on his Genesis.
 
Conrad Grunewald followed Robbie Nishida into the wall and Robbie’s wing exploded all over Bil!
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersRyan Kado was on point all weekend, and took out Pat Mordaunt in the Apex’i SC430.
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersKen Gushi might have needed some more shakedown time, but the FR-S was together enough to beat rookie Jeremy Lowe.
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersSince Ross was out of Falken’s pit, Garage Boso did it up big with their own party pit. Girls, barbecue, and reggae. So incredibly awesome.
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersBlu808’s Josh Sher posed with our new Blastermodel, Annie Anaya.
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersAnnie was busy selling Blastermerch during the break. Did you get your Spring 2012 tee yet? Better hurry before they’re sold out!
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersI was a little worried about the light crowd in the morning, but it got completely packed in no time.
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersTyler McQuarrie ended Ryan’s weekend in the Top 16.
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersI love to see Fredric Aasbø do well, but sometimes you just have to get paired up with the defending champion.
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersJustin Pawlak likes to scrape the walls, but this tap in the Top 8 buckled the quarterpanel a little. Either way, Chris Forsberg’s all-new 370Z couldn’t help him beat last year’s winner.
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersTyler took himself out with a spin, and would have slammed into the wall sideways if Daigo hadn’t tapped the front of the Camaro and straightened him back out. What a nice guy!
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersKen Gushi hit the wall pretty hard in his Top 8 battle with Daijiro Yoshihara.
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersIt looked bad, but the car was ready for the next run, sans wing.

In a repeat of  2011’s final battle, Matt Powers and JTP met in the Top 4. And just like last season, JTP showed Matt who’s boss.
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersSaito met Yoshihara in the Top 4 and Dai wasn’t going to let this newcomer stop him. They warmed up their tires and got ready to battle.
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersDaigo met the end of his winning streak, but he still had to face Matt Powers in the consolation round.
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersMatt fought hard for a podium finish, but Daigo shut him down. Not a bad run for a rookie’s first round of Formula D!
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersPawlak and Yoshihara finally met in the championship round, and the battle had no shortage of excitement.

Both drivers had solid runs and the tandems were close as ever, but the judges had a decision.
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersWhen the smoke cleared, it was JTP on top for the second year in a row.
 
formula drift long beach round 1 2012 daijiro yoshihara justing pawlak jtp daigo saito matt powersIt must have been a while since Daigo had opened a bottle of champagne, because it took him a while to open it. While he was struggling, Dai and JTP emptied their bottles onto him! Persistent as ever, he finally got it open and wasted no time letting JTP know what he thought about him. JTP didn’t care though.
 
That does it for our Long Beach coverage!
 
 
 
.:Bohan
Photos by Bohan and Ayala
 
 
 

9 thoughts on “Formula D Long Beach: Part 2

  1. Awesome shots guys, the best i’ve seen so far. And all pits should look like the Garage Boso one, keeping competitive drifting fun, that’s what’s up.

  2. Great coverage as usual!

    Millen’s new front end isn’t the Veloster front end though. It’s the Kouki Genesis front end, KDM models already have it, USDM models will have it by this summer.

  3. Pingback: Life Blasters » Blog Archive » And Daigo Gets the Win » Life Blasters

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