Formula DRIFT Round 3 was held at Palm Beach International Raceway over the weekend. Round 3: Invasion, returned for its third consecutive season to South Florida to a sold out event.
The track is technical, featuring a fast entry that proved to be a huge challenge for some of the big names and Essa was strong through it all. He made it to the final battle in his GSR Autosport / Yokohama Tire BMW M3 against returning champion Daigo Saito in the Bridges Racing / Achillies Tire Lexus SC430 and the battle was intense. Daigo led first with Essa tight on his tail, making no errors. Essa then took the victory on his lead run when Saito made an error and straightened out during drift.
This is Essa's first Formula DRIFT pro championship podium and victory, moving him into third place overall in the standings. Saito is now in first place overall, moving Vaughn Gittin Jr. closely behind in second place.
"It's surreal. We started this week with some issues and didn't qualify well," said Essa. "The team put together a solid car and thanks to Yokohama Tire, Bilstein, Garrett and the rest of the sponsors, we were able to win. We need to keep the momentum going and I can't wait for the next round."
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Formula DRIFT Professional Championship Presented by GoPro 2013 Standings After Three Rounds
|1.||Saito, Daigo||Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430||257 Points|
|2.||Gittin Jr., Vaughn||Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR||244 Points|
|3.||Essa, Michael||GSR Autosport / Yokohama BMW M||3241.50 Points|
|4.||Forsberg, Chris||NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Nissan 370Z||202 Points|
|5.||Aasbo, Fredric||Hankook Tire Scion Racing tC||197.50 Points|
|6.||Yoshihara, Daijiro||Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13||195 Points|
|7.||Moen, Kenneth||Lutz Performance / Nexen Tire Nissan 240SX||184 Points|
|8.||Pawlak, Justin||Falken Tire Ford Mustang||182.50 Points|
|9.||McNamara, Darren||Falken Tire Nissan S14||180.50 Points|
|10.||Bakchis, Aurimas||Nexen Tire Nissan S14||166.50 Points|
|11.||Tuerck, Ryan||Team Retaks / Maxxis Scion Racing FR-S150.50 Points|
|12.||Field, Matt||CX Racing / Blacktrax Nissan 240SX||144.50 Points|
|13.||Wang, Forrest||Get Nuts Labs Nissan 240SX||136.50 Points|
|14.||DeNofa, Chelsea||BC Racing BMW 3 Series||130 Points|
|15.||Nishida, Robbie||Bridges Racing / Achilles Tire Lexus SC300||127.50 Points|
|16.||Powers, Matt||Nitto Tire / Fatlace Nissan S14||119 Points|
Round 3: Invasion Event Results
|1.||Essa, Michael||GSR Autosport / Yokohama BMW M3 Winner|
|2.||Saito, Daigo||Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 Second Place|
|3.||Nishida, Robbie||Bridges Racing / Achilles Tire Lexus SC300 Third Place|
Manufacturers Championship Standings After Three Rounds
Tire Championship Standings After Three Rounds