You’d think the idea of having a drift event in South Florida would be music to our ears. Tropical weather, white sandy beaches, girls in bikinis, etc… But upon arriving at Palm Beach International Raceway, we realized the track was about two hours from Miami and the weather in early June was pretty damn miserable. Thankfully, Mother Nature was on our side and the thunderstorms held off during the hours of qualifying and competition as the 10th anniversary season of Formula Drift continued into the third round!
This year’s competition has been everything but predictable. Favorites have been knocked out early and underdogs have surprised us with top finishes. The Palm Beach event was no exception as top-ranked drivers Matt Powers and Ken Gushi didn’t even qualify. Even experienced drivers Dai Yoshihara and Ryan Tuerk were both eliminated before reaching the Top 8.
As several major players dropped out early, it paved the way for two former FD champs to make a move—Daigo Saito and Vaughn Gittin Jr. Both faced off against each other in the final four and Saito moved on to the finals. On the other end of the bracket, Michael Essa and Robbie Nishida were both looking for their first podium finish. At the end of the night, Essa and his turbo BMW M3 beat out Saito to take home the gold and claim his first career podium finish. Nishida beat out Gittin in the consolation match to also reach the podium for the first time in his career.
Going into Round 4, it’s still anyone’s game but with Saito’s second place finish, it still leaves him as leader and the man to beat. 2013 has proven to be one of the most exciting Formula D’s we’ve been able to be a part of so we suggest you get off your asses and make it to an event!
This entire year, Formula D has joined forces with Fatlace to put on a sister car show at each event. We’ve seen a lot of new rides come to light from these shows and it’s just another reason to check out FD this year!