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Formula D Finals - Close Call

Scene: Formula D Finals; Irwindale Speedway

Justin Kaehler
Dec 14, 2007
Photographer: Super Street Staff
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Formula Drift ended its 2007 season at the House of Drift, Irwindale Speedway. Drivers came from all corners of the globe for a chance at Formula D victory, with two American drivers trying extra hard for that first place podium finish. Only 26 season points separated series leader Tanner Foust from his nearest rival: Drift Alliance member Chris Forsberg. To win the series, all either of these drivers had to do was get on the podium.

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But as we all know, getting to that podium isn't easy. A simple spin or knocked-over cone can disqualify one from competition, as was the case with Irish drifting sensation Darren McNamara. Drivers also have to pray that their cars don't detonate from the abuse that drifting puts on all of a car's components. During qualifying, the JIC/Hankook Porsche of Tyler McQuarrie blew its engine at the start line, and Mitsuru Haraguchi's Silvia ate through its clutch. Would mechanical gremlins such as these knock Forsberg or Foust out of the competition? Or worse, would an unexpected meeting with the wall prematurely end any hope of a season win?

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Top 16
Right off the bat, a spin by Tony Brakahopia gave first place qualifier Tanner Foust his first win of the night. Ryuji Miki and Ryan "Hampshaa" Tuerck took turns pace jumping as they led, resulting in the first One More Time of the evening. The second time around, Ryuji's A'PEXi RX-7 took the win, bumming out the chowdah fans in the crowd. Kenji Yamanaka was able to out-maneuver the big blue charger of Sam Hubinette. Haraguhi simply said "f*** it" and didn't even try to drive well in his battle with Falken teammate Vaughn Gittin, opting instead to get up close and personal with the photographers.

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Forsberg started off strong in the evening and took out John Ruskakoff; Robbie Nishida almost bested NOPI series champ Bill Sherman, but spun at the very end giving Sherman the win. In the battle of the factory drivers, Rhys Millen had severe car troubles and immediately retired to the pits, allowing Ken Gushi to advance to the Top 8. And in the final Top 16 battle, Casper Canul took out one of the clipping points, handing the win to Dai "Grab Ass" Yoshihara.

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Top 8
Ryuji Miki went head-to-head with Foust, and both drivers corrected while chasing the other. "One More Time" was called, and while this second run was very close, the win was given to Foust. Gittin pitted his Mustang against the S15 of Yamanaka, but ended up tapping his `Stang against the wall in his first run and spun his second; Yamanaka got the win. Bill Sherman went up against the big smoke show of Forsberg, who drove more than well enough to advance to the next round. In Gushi's Top 8 battle with Yoshihara, Gushi hit a barrier, allowing Dai to advance to the semi-finals.

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Semi Finals
With both Forsberg and Foust in the semi-finals, there was no doubt that one of them would walk away with the season championship. Things were looking good for Tanner: his semi-final rival Kenji Yamanaka suffered a heavy hit of bad luck when he hit the wall. Foust once again walked away with the win and now had a guaranteed spot on the podium.

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It looked like Foust could take it all, but he didn't have the win just yet. Forsberg went up against Yoshihara, and both drivers delivered what may very well have been the most exciting run of the night. Both cars threw big smoke, crazy angle and even briefly made contact with each other. This first battle was too tough to call, so both drivers were sent out to fight it out one more time. Forsberg took the win the second time around, putting the first and second-place drivers of the season head-to-head in a winner-take-all battle.

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Foust and Forsberg both delivered solid runs, but the judges gave the win to Foust. Tanner took both first place in the final round and the season overall. Forsberg and Yoshihara took second and third place, respectively, for both the event and overall season.

Forsberg Wins Triple Crown
Chris ended his season in second place, but don't feel bad for him: he won the Triple Crown championship, pocketing an extra-fat check and a sweet electric guitar. In other award-winning news, privateer Joon Maeng won Rookie of the Year--quite the accomplishment considering he ran the entire season with no sponsor support. Congrats, guys!

By Justin Kaehler
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