Team Falken continues drift race win streak with one-two finish in Atlanta
All eyes were on Team Falken to see if the performance tire manufacturer could keep the momentum going after its first place finish in Long Beach, and the dynamic results from Round 2 of the 2010 Formula Drift Championship proved the team is on a roll after Falken Driver Daijiro “Dai” Yoshihara took the overall win on the proving grounds of legendary Road Atlanta, defeating teammate Vaughn Gittin Jr., in the final. It was the first overall win for Yoshihara as a Team Falken member. Gittin Jr. leads the standings after his first overall in Long Beach and second place at Road Atlanta.
Team Falken brought its full line-up of five factory-supported competitors to Road Atlanta, and Friday’s qualifying saw Yoshihara, running in his new Nissan Silvia S13 (240SX), co-sponsored by Discount Tire, place 4th, while Gittin Jr., in his Monster Energy/Ford Racing Mustang, was in 7th, and fellow teammates Darren McNamara (Saturn Sky), Justin Pawlak (Mustang) and Tyler McQuarrie (Nissan 350Z convertible) in 10th, 19th and 20th places, respectively. Falken privateer entry Ross Petty was in 18th. This season, all Falken Formula Drift Pro drivers are using the new and improved Azenis RT615K.
Five of the six drivers advanced from the Top 32 Round; only McQuarrie suffered a loss due to a spin. From this round, Dai continued to show his competitive strength, knocking down competitors, including his teammate McNamara in the Top 8 round. Meanwhile, Gittin Jr. took out Ryan Tuerck to also advance to the Top 4. In this round, both won against tough competitors, “Dai” beating Chris Forsberg and Gittin Jr. defeating Mike Essa via a “One More Time,” making it a Team Falken finale, and assuring Team Falken of its first back-to-back championship finish.
“This is a tremendous day for us,” declared Andrew Hoit, Falken director of marketing. “We would have loved to have seen a ‘tie,’ but there has to be a winner in this competition, and it was great that Dai got his first win in the Formula D championship, while Vaughn stayed strong to the end and takes firm hold of the top rung in the rankings.” Hoit noted that Falken was host to representatives from Monster Energy and Ford Racing as well as more than 225 dealer guests who all participated in Falken’s hospitality and shared in the win.
Yoshihara’s victory brought the first championship finish for his co-sponsor, Discount Tire, as well as for his car builder Scott Dodgion of SPD Metal Works.
“The results at Road Atlanta are what we have been building toward and have spent all off-season working to accomplish,” declared Jonathon Bradford, Falken’s Drift Team Supervisor. “We came here to do a job, and we delivered… first and second place. Now it’s on to Jersey.”
Team Falken’s marketing effort, hospitality rig and factory support trailer will continue on to the next round. Team Falken will compete at “The Gauntlet” at Wall Speedway in New Jersey, June 4-5. While recently renovated, the speedway, located in Wall Township, has been in existence since 1950, and has become an institution throughout the state. The specially designed track will provide drift fans with an exciting show on its “inner oval.”
To learn more about the Falken Tire Drift Team, visit www.wegetyougoing.com.