Toyo drifters prepare for the final Grand Prix rounds
Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. announces that the company-backed drift*1 racing team, “Team TOYO TIRES DRIFT,” will participate in the final round of the 2013 D1 Grand Prix Series (sponsored by D1 Corp.), held at Odaiba's NOP district in Tokyo on Nov. 9 (Saturday) and 10 (Sunday).
At the Round 3 event (Ebisu Circuit in Fukushima), Team TOYO TIRES DRIFT racer Masato Kawabata unleashed an aggressive performance on his way to taking top honors in the both the Tan-sou (solo run) and Tsui-sou (one-on-one battle) finals for an impressive overall victory. Kawabata continued his good form in Round 4, with a strong, steady driving performance en route to a 2nd-place finish in the Tan-sou and 5th-place finish in the Tsui-sou, which left him atop the point rankings at the conclusion of Round 4. Joining Kawabata in earning seeds for Round 5 from Team TOYO TIRES DRIFT were Tatsuya Sakuma (11th) and Akinori Utsumi (16th).
At the previous Round 5 event at Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki Prefecture, Team TOYO TIRES DRIFT displayed high-level drifting with Tatsuya Sakuma claiming runner-up honors in the Tsuiso (one-on-on battle) finale. Masato Kawabata did likewise in the following day’s exhibition match, followed by teammate Akinori Utsumi in an impressive third. In the overall point standings with five races completed, Kawabata stands alone at the top, followed by Tatsuya in 4th and Utsumi in 14th, with all three Team drivers earning seeds for the final racing event.
The special course at Odaiba is one on which Kawabata and his fellow Team TOYO TIRES DRIFT drivers excel. Kawabata will be gunning for his first series championship in six years, and he and Sakuma will aim to finish one-two in the overall series ranking.
The 2013 D1 Grand Prix Series, which kicked off on April 13 in Osaka (Maishima Sports Island), is a series of six racing events throughout Japan, including at such venues as Odaiba and Huis Ten Bosch.