With Formula D Sonoma being the second to last competition of the year, doing well was absolutely imperative as Dai was 2nd in the running for the championship, just a few points behind Vaughn Gittin. The weekend started a little rough as Dai's first qualifying run scored only 67 points due to a slight hiccup at the last clipping point.
Fortunately, Dai was able to regain his mojo prior to the 2nd run and was able to score 82.3 points, good enough to qualify in the 5th position.
A close Top 32 battle with Mad Mike Whiddet called for a One More Time. Unfortunately for Mad Mike and his Bad Bull, Dai was able to pull off two perfect runs and was able to create a significant gap during his lead run. Dai was faced with his Japanese brethren, Michihiro Takatori, for Top 16. The combination of superior chassis/suspension tuning with the ultra-sticky Falken RT-615K's aided Dai in creating a substantial distance between he and his opponent during his lead run. If that wasn't enough, Dai's extremely aggressive chase run made it definitive to all who would be advancing to the Great 8. Dai lined up next to Ryan Tuerck for the Great 8.
It would be a battle between American v8's, with both power plants originating from General Motors. Dai chased for the first run and came in a little too hot into the first initiation and tapped Ryan's car slightly. However, Dai remained aggressive throughout the first run to keep himself competitive. On the second run, Dai stayed poised and came in aggressive again leaving a gap between him and Ryan. Unlike Dai's run, Ryan came in shallow but with Dai's slight tap in the first run, it really came down to the judges. An unfortunate split decision by the judges announced that Dai's weekend was over. "This weekend was probably one of the hardest losses I've had all season," explains Dai. "I know the chance of winning the championship this year is so close but with JR placing first, that chance is now that much harder. My congrats to my teammate JR for winning Sonoma though, he's been having such an awesome year." Although the dream of sitting at the top may be clouded, Dai's spirit is far from daunted and will continue to put forth his strongest effort until the 2010 season of Formula Drift is called to conclusion.
"My team, Falken Tire / Discount Tire and SPD Metal Works, have worked so hard this year to get me where I'm at today. We will continue to work hard and I will continue to do my best for the last event. It's not over until it's over." Dai also wants to let all his fans and supporters know that he really appreciates your continued belief in him. See you at Irwindale! And as always, for more info on Dai, check out his new blog site at www.daiyoshihara.com/blog <../2010 Formula D - Seattle/www.daiyoshihara.com/blog> as well as www.wegetyougoing.com