Formula Drift Seattle is definitely a round that fans will be talking about for quite some time after the fact. There were a few crashes, mechanical failures, early defeats of top contenders, and a controversial judging call as icing on the cake.
The carnage started towards the end of Top 32 during a battle between three-time champ Chris Forsberg and privateer hero Jeff Jones. During Jones’ chase run he got into the back of Forsberg’s 370Z and both cars had their body work chewed up pretty bad. The judges ruled that Jones was at fault for the collision. While Forsberg’s car had to be towed off the track, fortunately for him his team was able to get his Z back in working order for the Top 16.
Another Top 32 shocker was the fact that ace driver Forrest Wang failed to make it out of the Top 32. It has been a long time since Wang has been knocked out that early. Forrest had to battle Matt Field in the bracket. During the battle, both drivers had sloppy mistakes in their lead and chase runs respectively leading the judges to ultimately vote for a OMT battle. During the second battle both drivers looked much better but the judges felt that Matt Field had the edge, awarding him the win. Forrest did mention to Jarrod DeAnda earlier in the weekend that he was experimenting with some different setups, which could have contributed to his inconsistent performance.
It was the Top 16 that contained the most shockers. Things started off with two of the top points contenders being taken down unexpectedly. First Fredric Aasbo was defeated by James Deane. Both drivers also suffered some vehicle damage from a collision that was the result of a mistake made by Aasbo.
Then, Odi Bakchis was defeated by 2011 Champion Dai Yoshihara who had been performing consistently well all weekend. Another shocker game when relative newcomer Dylan Hughes surprised everyone by defeating Ryan Tuerck!
Finally there was the controversial battle between Ken Gushi and Vaughn Gittin Jr. that took place over two battles. The judges deemed the first match up too close and called for a OMT. In the second battle during Vaughn’s chase run, Gushi made a mistake causing him to go off course and cut a corner. Around the same time Vaughn over rotated but managed to keep the drift going.
When the battle was over, the judges unanimously awarded the win to Ken Gushi. The reasoning according to judge Ryan Lanteigne, Vaughn’s chase run was a wash for both drivers since he considered Vaughn’s over rotation just as bad of a mistake as Ken going off course.
Apparently Vaughn was not happy about this call and reported to the judging booth to formally call a protest to the decision. Vaughn says his protest was denied in an Instagram video he posted shortly after the incident.
In the caption for the video Vaughn chides Formula Drift for refusing to hear his protest and explains that his reason for altering his line is that he believed that if he kept on course he could have driven into a “T-bone” situation. You can watch the video below.
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This is unacceptable. I want to win always, but I will not drive into a line to get TBoned @formulad. I am an honest competitor always have been, the judges have a tough job but to just shut this protest down and expect a driver to willingly drive into a Tbone situation is seriously embarrassing to our sport. BTW huge respect to @kengushi whom is just as confused as I am, not many drivers would willing agree they are Confused why they got to advance. #fdsea #thanksforalltheloveseattle!
To watch the run in question, just click here. After watching, let us know what you think of the judges call.
Afterwards, the show had to go on. Dai Yoshihara went on to defeat Ken Gushi however Dai fell to Piotr Wiecek in the final four. James Deane recovered from his battle with Fredric Aasbo and went on to defeat Justin Pawlak and Chris Forsberg to move on to the finals.
This meant the final battle was between teammates Piotr Wiecek and James Deane. As you can imagine, the battle was a straight up clinic of drifting skill. Though in the end it was Piotr who came out on top. Dai Yoshihara rounded out the podium capturing the third place spot.
The early bow outs of Aasbo and Bakchis make for some interesting championship implications. Aasbo is in the points lead but Bakchis is only two points behind. Additionally, with his win, Piotr moves in to third spot just 16 points behind Aasbo. With two rounds left, there is potential for some chaos at the top of the ladder.
I’m looking forward to it!