April marked the opening round of the new Drift Allstars European Series. Previously JDM allstars, the new series takes place across the rest of europe as well as the UK.
Glorious sunshine coated the beautiful north eastern skyline which seemed to inspire crowds to arrive in significant numbers. Walking round the pits checking out the season fresh cars was a hustle and bustle of new fans, seemingly excited by what they saw.
The Teesside track is fairly infamous and loved by amateurs and pros alike for the variety of corners. The huge sweeping right hander was changed slightly this year by adding a chicane to force a flick just before the entry. This resulted in some pretty spectacular dirt drops into the corner. It then followed the standard configuration of right hairpin into shallow hairpin left, then long sweeping left into long sweeping right. Really great circuit.
As well as being there as media, I was also supporting local heroes Jon Calvert and Bizz. Unfortunately for me, and indeed the spectators, Jon had some serious issues resulting in a misfire. This meant he didn’t qualify for the main event. The new car looked oldshool cool though which is always a bonus.
Another new car to me, that also looked super fresh, was the French S15 of Tony Jouin. Unfortunately this was another car having mechanical trouble and Tony missed out on the top 16 battles. I look forward to seeing this at future events however as it looked to go extremely well in practice.
A much more familiar car and indeed face was the Severnside sponsored PS13. Piloted last year by series winner Luke Fink, this year it was driven by the very capable James Deane. James managed a top 3 position with some super aggressive driving.
Brad McQueen was out in his new liveried S14. The striking new scheme suffered a small off causing some damage to the front end but he still qualified for the top 16 battles.
Martin Ffrench was on fire when qualifying in his SR20’d IS200. The car looked extremely nimble and quick. This could however just be Martin’s driving. Also if anyone can tell me how to tell the difference between a IS200 and an Altezza please leave a comment.
Christy Carpenter in the 600bhp+ 1JZ’d S15 was also going extremely well. It looked and sounded superb.
Qualifying ended with the above 16 drivers making it through to battles. The lack of Brad Hacker in the Dragon FD RX7 was another big surprise. He unfortunately limped out with a broken gearbox.
Every single battle in the top 16 was amazing. Drivers showed extreme commitment and most runs were ran with only a door width separating the cars.
Crowd favourite Steve Stiggy Evans was eliminated in the top 16 battles by Bizz in the DD Racing V8 R33. Some problems with the Starlet meant the battle wasn’t as close as expected. But hopefully we’ll see much more of Stiggy in the following rounds.
Another Frenchman was eliminated by James Deane. The V8 E36 with it’s chrome vinyl was very well driven and a really great car.
Bizz’s Winning streak came to an end in the top 4 battle with Ffrench, after beating out Stiggy in the Starlet in the top 16 battles. Martin advanced to the final to take on Nigel Colfer in his S13.5.
The battle for 3rd came down the wire, literally. With Bizz running on obliterated tyres, James Deane took the win and grabbed the final podium spot. Great driving by both drivers but slightly more aggression shown by the young Irish driver meant he just edged it.
The final was between Martin Ffrench and Nigel Colfer. Both the Irishmen went extremely hard with Colfer only losing out by the smallest margin. Great driving by the 2 drivers made for a great ending spectacle.
The final results ended up as follows:
1st – Martin Ffrench – Wexican Motorsport IS200
2nd – Nigel Colfer – Evicted Nissan S13.5 1JZ
3rd – James Deane – LBD Rockstar Energy Nissan PS13
4th – Ian ‘Bizz’ Phillips – DD Racing LSR33 Nissan Skyline
The next event takes place in Sunderland at the Nissan plant this very weekend. A fast, custom built street track is expected. People interested in attending should head over to the DAES forum for further info. Clicky.
The full 2o11 points standings can be seen here.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll be bringing you the coverage from round 2 next week!