Defending champion Fredric Aasbo will take his fight for the 2017 crown to the final round of the season following a fifth-place result in Texas this weekend.
The Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire SR by Toyota tC is second in the standings and within striking distance of the title as the Formula Drift championship heads to its exciting season finale October 7-8.
"We had the car to beat out there this weekend," said Aasbo. "We've never had a better package in terms of setup and grip and speed. We are dialed."
Aasbo put in a strong qualifying performance to rank in Top 3 and then advanced confidently through the opening round. A one-more-time re-run in the Top 16 saw the Norwegian put in a textbook performance on both his lead and chase runs to defeat Geoff Stoneback and move up the ladder.
The next match was a much-anticipated battle between champions as Aasbo faced Chris Forsberg. In a rare misstep, Aasbo over-corrected as he chased his rival through the smoke and Forsberg advanced.
"We fell to one of the most experienced drivers in the sport," said Aasbo. "Where the game is at right now, you can't afford to make any mistakes and we're definitely battling hard. As a competitor, there's nothing better than a fight and we'll come back swinging for Irwindale."
Aasbo has scored three podium results this year, winning in Orlando and Montreal and placing second at the opener in Long Beach. With one round remaining in the season, Papadakis Racing manufacturer partner SR by Toyota leads the Auto Cup, while tire partner Nexen Tire tops the Tire Cup standings.
The championship now moves to Southern California for its final round of 2016 at Irwindale Speedway. Each year, fans pack the Los Angeles area venue, known as the "House of Drift" for its historic involvement in the foundation of the sport of drifting in the United States. With the championship on the line, the competition is always intense.
"We have a car that can win at Irwindale right now and we're not changing anything," said team owner Stephan Papadakis. "We're going into the season finale to be top qualifier and win. That's what we need to do."
The veteran Papadakis Racing team has competed at every Irwindale event since the creation of Formula Drift in 2004 and has three Formula Drift titles to its credit. The team won the title in 2015 with Aasbo, and earned two titles with driver Tanner Foust in 2007 and 2008.
Next, Aasbo will travel to Shanghai to compete in the first-ever D1GP Series in China September 15-17.