Falken Tire achieves three-peat at Formula Drift opener
Team Falken started the 2012 Formula Drift season the way it finished last year, with one of its factory drivers on top of the podium. For the second year in a row, Justin Pawlak took first place at the Long Beach opening round, making it a three-peat for Falken at Long Beach, one of the tire brand’s two home tracks. Formula Drift defending champion and Team Falken teammate Daijiro (“Dai”) Yoshihara was second.
Before a capacity crowd and 61 entrants competing for round one, Pawlak took the victory on board his redesigned 2013 Ford Mustang running Falken’s designated drift tire, the Azenis RT615K. Pawlak qualified fourth, while Yoshihara was sixth among the top 32. Third Falken teammate Vaughn Gittin, Jr., the 2010 Formula D champion, driving the Monster Energy/Falken Tire Ford Mustang was third in qualification, but was defeated during the Top 32 round, as was fourth Falken teammate Darren McNamara. Both Pawlak and Dai advanced to the final when Justin defeated the Formula D current champion, earning his second Long Beach trophy.