Published on October 14th, 2015 | by Jess Bell0
ADGP – Battle At The Dome
The 2015/2016 Australian Drifting Grand Prix season kicked off at Calder in usual style; cold and windy but with a bang at the Calder Park Raceway Thunderdome in early September.
With the introduction of new drivers and new cars (Drift Life season preview here), round one was never going to disappoint. It was fantastic to see most teams with a new look and the driving quality stepped up yet again with some high calibre battles signifying how tough this season will be for the competitors to take out the championship.
Combined with burnout shows, great food stalls, the Estblshd Show N Shine and plenty of music, the fans were treated to a great weekend at the dome.
With much of the field only getting completed in the week leading up to the round, Saturday open practice was the first shakedown for many. Running the original Formula Drift layout provided a nice mix of a higher speed entry into a series of tighter more technical corners to really get cars door on door during the battles.
A sea of Achilles was starting to form with four drivers now under the Achilles banner; Rob Whyte, Nick Coulson, Brad Tuohy (pictured above) and now Beau Yates has also made the switch to the dominant tyre player in the Australian drift scene.
Sunday morning went straight into qualifying. Surprising to many, ADGP rookie Brendan Greaves from Western Australia came out blazing to put himself in a comfortable second in qualifying, while 2014/2015 Champion, Michael Rosenblatt showed us all exactly why he won the championship last season qualifying with possibly the highest score seen in ADGP history and taking first place.
Josh Boettcher, Nick Coulson and Michael Prosenik then rounded out the top five. V8 Supercar driver and part time drifter Shane Van Gisbergen also returned this season with a solid sixth place qualifier. Local Michael Bonney in the wild 2JZ S15 had his best qualifying to date in ADGP, ending up eighth and we saw a strong return to ADGP of Insane Drifter, Andreas Paraskevas (“Aggess”) showing he still has the skills despite having a year off, qualifying 10th in the new look ‘Days of Thunder’ inspired liveried S14.
Top 32 Highlights
With both Rosenblatt and Greaves qualifying first and second respectively, they were guaranteed a place in the top 16 with a bye run.
Michael Bonney continued his impressive form from qualifying, defeating Nic Wilson who was debuting his freshly built JZX100, after he misjudged his chase lap and hit the rear of Bonney’s car.
The first tight battle and rerun of the day went to Dale Campaign and Brent Gordon, which was just the beginning of some of the best battles seen in ADGP history. While it was close, Gordon managed to push on through to the top 16. Van Gisbergen sadly blew a radiator hose on his lead run, which put him out for the rest of the competition, handing the win to Joel Dimmack.
Anthony Cece’s recently completed Kenda tyres backed S14 Silvia had unfortunate mechanical issues, losing to hard charging local master Prosenik. We then saw the second rerun of the day between Aggess and Matty Hill, with Hill just scraping through to the top 16.
Top 16 Highlights
Following the drivers parade, introductions and the national anthem, it was straight into the top 16. There were some serious matchups, but also some silly mistakes.
After dropping two tyres offline, Chris Frome handed the win to Rosenblatt. Josh Robinson in the HP-F Holden ute came in too hot on his chase lap, making contact and pushing both drivers offline, putting Bonney through to the top 8. Coulson also came in too hot into the hairpin and handed the win to Gordon. Prosenik had a killer chase lap against Finny O’Hare, moving through to the top 8. Dimmack had a messy lead and chase run against Drift Squid, giving Jones the win. Levi Clarke unfortunately broke his tailshaft in his chase of Josh Boettcher, putting him out of the competition.
Top 8 Highlights
The driving in the top 8 was a level up on the previous battles.
It was then time for two of the Achilles drivers to come up against each other, Yates and Whyte. After a bad lead run for Yates, White went into his lead run with an advantage, however Whyte misjudged his entry and went too deep into the hairpin hitting the tyre wall, Yates followed him and sandwiched him into the tyre wall. Unfortunately Whyte couldn’t fix his car so Yates went through to the top 4.
The lead run of Rosenblatt and Gordon was close with Rosenblatt going into his chase run with a slight advantage from the angle he had in his entry. Unfortunately, Rosenblatt was too aggressive and pushed a little hard on his chase run, making the mistake of going too shallow and enough to send Gordon through to the final.
Yates put in an insane chase run, keeping his 2JZ right on the door of Boettcher’s V8. His lead run was near perfect, with Boettcher unable to match the line or proximity of Yates in his chase run. Yates sailed on through to the top 2.
CHAMPIONSHIP TOP 10
1. Beau Yates – 100
2. Brent Gordon – 93
3. Josh Boettcher – 86
4. Michael Rosenblatt – 79
5. Michael Prosenik – 72
6. Michael Bonney – 69
7. Rob Whyte – 66
8. Jake Jones – 63
9. Brendon Greaves – 58
10. Nick Coulson – 55
Catch round 2 at Adelaide International Raceway on 28 & 29 November. For the first time, ADGP will be using a totally new custom track, meaning there will be no home track advantage for the local South Australian drivers!
For more info head to www.australiandriftinggp.com.au