Formula Drift Round 2 - Road Atlanta

Formula Drift Round 2 - Road Atlanta to the Championship

By Justin Banner


Road Atlanta is the East Coasts own “House of Drift.” It was the first event in the inaugural season of Formula Drift and provides some of the faster speeds seen in Formula Drift. It’s also the home of the Backwards Entry, where drivers get as inverted as they can and still pull off a good line. However for this season, drivers not only had a course change to deal with but were told that Backwards Entries were not going to be judged as positively as past events. The line was also different than past years because of that course change, too, which made guessing what line was best even more to worry about. So many wrenches in the gears, could the drivers make this new layout work?

 Formula Drift Round 2 - Road Atlanta

 The new course changes were explained during the driver's meeting prior to the event.


Formula Drift Round 2 - Road Atlanta

The biggest problem to get around first was the course change. For many years, the drivers would enter Turns 10a and 10b then flow up to the bottom of the “P,” which gave the drivers a short shoot between them. They would then drift the rest of the “P” in a left turn, go downhill back to 10b and finish off 10a. This year, however, they would drift a different layout; they had to drift all the way uphill, enter at the top of the “P” (that was now an off camber turn as well), and drift down the short straight to 10b. It didn’t really take away from most of the technicality of the circuit, however entering the “P” at the top didn’t sit well with fans and some drivers.


Formula Drift Round 2 - Road Atlanta

There was also the announcement during the driver’s meeting that Backwards Entries wouldn’t be judged as well as they have been in the past. By the time qualifying was over, though, Mike Essa in the GSR Autosport/Nitto Tires BMW Z4 proved that the judges still liked the Backwards Entry. He was awarded a score of 98 and Number 1 Qualifier! This is the best qualifying spot Essa has gotten in his career in Formula Drift.


Formula Drift Round 2 - Road Atlanta
Vaughn Gittin, Jr., in his Monster Energy/Falken Tires Ford Mustang showed he had some of his mojo back with his Second Place Qualifying position. With his score being a 97.5, could JR be on the way towards a 2012 championship and a better result than at Round 1 at Long Beach? Nothing is guaranteed and the season is still progressing.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 8:20 AM
Isn't in a "tsuiso" run in FD the lead car supposed to be a moving clipping point and you are not allowed to pass so he was wrong to take a tighter line. So Vaughn Gitten was wrong to Hit Diago Saito. Pretty sad excuse if he simply could not see.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 9:07 AM
Justin - Best follow-up FD coverage as usual. I hate to seem like a downer but Rhys' win over Kado seemed to follow my pattern of observed controversies. He nearly completely straightened up on both follow runs. The year just seems to have its fair share of controversy. I'm sure Mike will point out something I missed, but I might be having a tough time with some calls if I were a competitor.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 9:36 AM
Jr told me Daigo hit him. I didn't see the run because I was walking in the woods to the start line. This event had an unusual amount of weird calls including the one that eliminated us after we kicked ass. It should have at least gone one more time. I know FD wants to avoid OMT's in the top 32 to avoid a boring show where two lower ranked drivers do a boring slog out but Dai and Ryan Turek can put on a bad ass fans on the feet one more time any day.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 10:19 AM
After watching the video of Saito and Gittin.
In the second run Daigo went a bit wide, allowing Gittin to move in.
Now, I don't know the rules of FD, but if they state that in a "tsuiso" battle, the car that follow (Vaugh Gittin in this case) is not allowed to pass the leader, then Gittin made the mistake.
Daigo's line was off, but that doesn't mean Gittin is allowed to pass. 'Cause that's what he was trying to do.
Anyway, another reason why I don't follow drifting. It ALWAYS boils down to judges' appeal and opinions.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 10:36 AM
I thought both Dai and Jr got cheated!
Dai and Ryan had nearly identical runs and with Ryan doing better in the first half of the course but Dai doing better later. I also thought dai ran a better line.
And Diago clearly aimed fo Jr. He took a terrible line, overcorrected and planted a fender on Jr's bumper. You can see he crossed the entire track to cut off Jr and save face, and still missed both the 10a and b apexes. All Gitten did was follow the correct line and would have had to stop completely to avoid Diago's attack. Before the contact though Jr was a freakin' shadow!!
Shoulda gone to Jr!
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 11:02 AM
Daigo looked like he was headed into the dirt. Rules don't say you have to follow off course, and its dangerous to follow into a crash. JDMized, Vaughn never tried to pass. He worked the brake and throttle to stay on Daigos door after letting him get back on line. I don't think it was Daigo's intention to swing hard and hit Vaughn, but it wouldn't have happened if Daigo ran a reasonable line. I was there and I thought the win should have went to JR. Daigo did an amazing job the rest of the night.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 1:04 PM
Like I said, I expressed my thoughts solely based on the video (granted the quality of the video wasn't that great).
As I stated in the previous comment, I do not know the rules of FD. Vaugh Gittin, to me, took advantage of his momentum, has he had a much better line than Daigo, carried the speed in the turn and faced Daigo who was trying to correct his bad line (consequently loosing his momentum).
I don't think Daigo voluntarily wanted to push Gittin out of the course.
Either way, this argument can go on and on. (between us, between fans, and between the two drivers).
It's funny if you think about it. There are companies that dump thousands of dollars into drifting, hoping to gain some revenue in return....and these guys (the drivers) are judged by 2-3 turns only!!!!
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 4:02 PM
"However, on the first turn, Forsberg ran off the course and into the gravel pit. That off course broke his right front suspension and he had to call for a Five Minute rule."

It seems maybe the writer (or editor) should review video...and maybe judging comments before releasing article.

Chris broke at transition well before he went off course,

several other statements were a little...off... like claiming Rhys had a clear victory over Ryan Kado, you make it sound like it wasn't a split decision and came down to the last judge on a OMT.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 6:48 PM
i like this way of presenting the event. lots of pics and a quick thing about each battle. very nice. wish i could have been there.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 10:34 PM
Judging comments are not public. I think I was walking around blowing off steam when Chris had his troubles.
Mike D
Mike Dlink
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 5:39 AM
I think that people have to remember that this is a judged sport and as such it is up to the competitors to understand what the judges are looking for and provide such. if what they judges convey what they are looking for is different than what they are actually judging during competition then there is a major problem. there has also been a change up in who the judges are as well as one of the judges last year is now competing this year.

i was not able to be there in person but i did catch the action on the drift stream. from my opinion there were some very controversial calls, Dai and Truek should have definitely been a OMT as the battle was fierce and in my eyes too close to call.

as or the jr and diago run. as mentioned before the lead car is supposed to be a moving clipping point. i don't know if you could say he was clearly going off into the dirt and that jr shouldn't have followed him. from my eyes it just looks as if diago intentionally took a wide line as he had the petal to the metal creating that glorious smoke screen for all. i think JR could have followed that line out there and if he had he would have won the battle as that was his job as chase car in the battle and diago had made a huge mistake with that wide line. both drivers made a rather large error, i would have liked to see that one go OMT.

also if you caught the even on the drift stream maybe it was the position of the judges quite often i heard "so and so took a slightly shallower line through the back turn (on the uphill)" from jarrod and his fellow commentator while on the drift stream camera angle you could see that it was a significantly shallower line sometimes not even anywhere close to the rear clipping point back there.

(conspiracy theory alert) maybe the goal of the judges this year is to create controversy thereby increasing the interest in the sport and possibly getting national coverage on a major broadcaster? the ticket sales alone prove the popularity of the sport.

and finally i would like to tip my hat to WW. the man took his lumps through the entire competition. infact i don't think it was until the final 4 that he was able to make a tandem run with out being knocked around by his competitor.

oh one more thing, in this day and age, would it not be possible for a small telemetry solution so that the judges could get a better idea of speed, position on track and drift angle? eliminating the judges position from the possible controversy?
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