Starting with a 1st place in qualifying and finishing third place overall, Team Falken’s veteran driver, Daijiro “Dai” Yoshihara, reclaimed a podium spot at the finish of Round 2 of the 2017 Black Magic Formula Drift Pro Championship, held at Orlando Speed World, April 28-29.
Team Falken brought six drivers to Orlando, among the 28 entrants, with Dai in 1st, Long Beach winner James Deane in 4th; Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis, 7th; Justin Pawlak, 11th; Matt Field, 18th; and Piotr Wiecek, 24th. Both Dai and Deane quickly advanced through the first round, while the remaining team members went down by the Top 16 round, through Deane put up a good fight, finally losing after two “One More Times.” Dai continued through to the Top 4 where he lost to Michael Essa. Frederic Aasbo took the overall win.
“We are proud of Dai’s performance tonight,” said Steven Wong, Falken’s Supervisor, Passenger Car Events. “Dai has had a long-standing relationship with Falken Tires and of course, is one of the ‘icons’ of drifting, and he did well. Our new AZENIS RT615k+ continues to show its strengths, and every event provides our engineers with more data that increases our ability to improve in this extremely competitive sport.”
“The combination of my hard-working team, the grip and confidence the RT615K+ gave me, I was able to qualify first and work my way through the competition to land a third place finish in Orlando,” stated a happy Yoshihara. “I cannot thank my team, sponsors, and most importantly, the fans, for supporting me. I am more than ready to head to Road Atlanta for Round 3.”
“As a result of Dai’s finish, Falken Tires is leading the Formula D Tire Cup,” added Jonathon Bradford, Falken’s Manager, Motorsports & Events. “Naturally, as a two-time manufacturer’s champion, we are determined to win a third, so every point counts.”
At the end of Round 2, Deane is in second place in the Driver standings, followed by Yoshihara in 8th. The remaining Falken drivers fill in the chart with Bakchis, 9th; Field, 13th; Wiecek, 14th; and Pawlak, 18th.
For Round 3, the teams move from Orlando’s “Uncharted Territory” toward the “Road to the Championship” at Road Atlanta, always one of the most anticipated events of the season. The action takes place May 12-13.