Formula Drift Atlanta: Never Lift by Larry Chen

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Formula Drift Atlanta 2015 will be remembered for a number of things: the debut of RADBUL, the shock exits of Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Fredric Aasbø in the Top 16, and the epic Nitto Top 4 battles between Ken Gushi and Chris Forsberg that went One More Time not once, but twice. When the smoke cleared though, it was Aurimas ‘Odi’ Bakchis who stood atop the podium after beating out Gushi in a hard-fought and very close Nitto Final. Stay tuned for full event coverage in the coming week!

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All eyes were on Mad Mike Whiddett as he pulled up to the line for his second qualifying run at this weekend’s round of Formula D in Atlanta. He told everyone he was going to take it easy, but he pulled off one amazing run for an 8th place qualifier. After not competing in Formula Drift for such a long time, it’s great to see Mike in excellent form. It’s going to be interesting to see him in battle once again as the season progresses.

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Mike wasn’t the only driver out for blood; Justin Pawlak threw down an impressive run to grab the top qualifying spot.

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This is Tanner Foust’s second event out of the three rounds that he will be competing at this season.

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It’s so great to see all these drivers returning to the sport that they love. Tanner qualified in 15th position, which means he has a good chance of making it into the Top 16 for the first time this year.

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While Tanner is mostly competing as an exhibition driver, his Rockstar Energy teammate and Speedhunters driver Fredric Aasbø is gunning for his first Championship.

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Fredric is currently in the lead, and with a second place qualifying position, it looks like he could be earning another win – unless he encounters another monster truck. Although he is meeting up with Daigo Saito in the Top 32, which should make things very interesting indeed.

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Daigo Saito came out swinging so hard in 2012, but for some reason he has fallen off in recent years in terms of standings, due to all of the mechanical issues his cars are having.

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Although, when he does get his car working, he is absolutely on point. Just look at Irwindale last year, he earned the win without a hitch.

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Chris Forsberg is up to his usual consistency, although after knocking himself out in Long Beach he is trailing significantly behind Fredric.

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All eyes were on Forrest Wang as he has been the highest qualifier in recent years. Unfortunately he was struggling during practice all day, and he just could not put together the picture-perfect run that we were expecting and ended up in 9th place.

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Currently third in standings, Ryan Tuerck is definitely one to watch out for, as it seems he has finally come to grips with the new 2JZ-powered ZN6 platform.

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In terms of drift tracks, I like street courses and ovals, because it’s always more exciting when there is a certain element of danger. But Atlanta is great because the drivers can stay on throttle for much longer than normal due to the long straight away.

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Since Road Atlanta is an actual road course, the guys can push as hard as they want without the consequence of hitting any walls.

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Either way, I am definitely looking forward to all of the battles, as there are some potential match-ups in the Top 32 that could lead to some major upsets.

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So do you have any interesting predictions on what will take place? You can look at thebracket for yourself here.

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