The last week has been absolutely crazy! Even though Formula D Long Beach technically only went down Friday and Saturday things really started last week Tuesday during the media day. Ever since that day there was a ton of talk and a ton of speculation about how things would go down once the big day came.
The biggest talking point was the fact that several of the top guys were in new cars this year and a few of the top guys were not. Former Champ Rhys Millen debuted his Hyundai Genesis coupe and defending two-time champ Tanner Foust brought out his NASCAR engine’d Scion tC. Sam Hubinette who was expected to bring out his new Dodge Challenger made a decision to return to his trusty Viper and Chris Forsberg freshend up his V8 Nissan 350Z.
Another topic of conversation was the fact that Formula D switched to a Top 32 format for 2009. By having qualifying on Friday, Saturday would now be dedicated to tandem battles from 32 all the way down to one. This meant doing away with “seeded” spots. Everyone has to qualify and everyone has to fight their way into the brackets.
It also meant that more privateer and small teams had a shot at the big dogs. Someone who took full advantage of this was Stephan Verdier. Steph managed to take out Rhys and Chris Forsberg who was a favorite to win the round.
Another big upset was Formula D rookie Jim Jones taking out Dai Yoshihara who was suffering from new car blues all weekend. This year Dai Yoshihara is in a new Lexus IS350 with a Hasselgren V8 engine under the hood. However hes only had limited testing in the car and hasn’t quite warmed up to it yet.
When the dust settled over Long Beach the whole event came down to Sam in his trusty Viper against Ryan “Hampshaa” Tuerck in his re-freshed Pontiac Solstice coupe. The battle was tight and very close but rather than call a OMT (One More Time) the judges felt that Ryan just edged out the Crazy Swede by a hair and awared the Drift Alliance member his first win. Personally I called it…anyone who tells you different is a filthy liar!
Tanner Foust managed to fight off Robbie Nishida (several times) to earn the third spot on the podium. With Sam’s second place finish he is the highest scoring veteran so far.
Ha haaaa…annyway this was another great Long Beach event put on by the team at Formula D. Every year they listen to feedback and find ways to improve things. So above all a big shout out and thanks to Formula D for putting on such a great event and allowing MotorworldHype the privlage of covering it!
Stay tuned as Round 2 in Atlanta is coming up in early may.