Road Atlanta, Braselton, Georgia — Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Formula Drift returned to Road Atlanta for the 10th time last weekend, where drivers from around the world competed in one of the most exciting events in the series' history.
May 14, 2013 - Santa Clarita, Calif. – Formula Drift returned to Road Atlanta for the 10th time last weekend, where drivers from around the world competed in one of the most exciting events in the series' history. Achilles Motorsports saw four of its drivers make the big show, with 2012 Champion Daigo Saito taking it all of the way to the top of the podium.
Achilles drivers Daigo Saito, Robbie Nishida, Forrest Wang, and Walker Wilkerson all qualified for the Top 32 on Friday. Saito, who qualified fifth would face Pat Mourdant in the first round of competition. Nishida was paired with Kenny Moen, Forrest Wang would take on Miro Ovcharik, and Walker Wilkerson would be challenging number one qualifier Fredric Aasbo. Due to issues with the car, Walker would not be able to compete in Top 32, giving Aasbo the win. Nishida knew that he had to put it all out there during his lead run against Moen, but unfortunately went off track giving Moen the win. Forrest Wang defeated Ovcharik, which put him against his Achilles teammate, Daigo Saito, in Top 16.
The forecast called for rain on Saturday, and the weatherman had definitely gotten it right as rain began to pour down just before the drivers lined up for Top 16. The already tricky course became a car killer as driver after driver spun out, and in some cases, even collided with their tandem partner. Saito bested Wang in Top 16 and went on to face Kyle Mohan in the Great 8. Saito, who has extensive experience drifting in wet conditions, was unphased as he quickly moved through Mohan and headed to the Final Four, where he would meet 2010 Formula Drift Champion, Vaughn Gittin Jr. During the first run with Gittin, Vaughn spun out at the dreaded first turn, giving Saito the advantage. There was some contact between the two cars, which sent Daigo to the Bridges Racing pit for repairs. Even with the damage, Saito was able to pull out the victory and would face Darren McNamara in the finals. The first run between Saito and DMac was intense, with McNamara smashing into the Achilles Radial / Bridges Racing Lexus Sc430, rendering the Irishman unable to make it to the line for the second run. Saito took a victory lap and headed for his first podium of the season, and currently sits number two in the points standing.
Round Three of Formula Drift gets underway on May 31st to June 1st in West Palm Beach, Florida, the track where Daigo Saito took his first win last season.