Team Falken Starts 2019 Formula Drift The Right Way, With Odi Bakchis Scoring First At Long Beach Opener
LONG BEACH, CA – Coming off a superb 2018 season in which Team Falken celebrated its second consecutive Black Magic Formula Drift Pro Championship with two-time overall winner James Deane, the 2019 season opener in Long Beach was no different as Team Falken Driver Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis took the top rung Saturday night, April 6th, before a capacity crowd, signaling the start of yet another championship run for Falken Tires.
“This is what it’s all about,” declared Bakchis. “Domination….Team Falken qualified first through fifth. All six drivers made it through the Top 32, with five in the Top 16. I was very fortunate to continue fighting through the finish, thanks to the dedication of my crew and the amazing lasting power of our Falken Azenis RT615K+ tires. It was a great event.”
Bakchis qualified fifth out of 36 entrants. Teammates Matt Field qualified in 1st, followed by defending Formula D Champ Deane, Piotr Wiecek in 3rd, Daijiro “Dai” Yoshihara in 4th and Justin “JTP” Pawlak in 13th.
“It’s another fantastic victory for Team Falken,” added Steve Wong, Falken’s Supervisor, Passenger Car Motorsports and Events. “Everything went well through the first rounds. Clearly, the competition is just as tough as it was last year, so Falken and our drivers will have to be as focused as ever in order to succeed, but overall, we were very pleased with tonight’s outcome as it starts us on a very positive step forward.”
Standings after round one place Bakchis in first; Field in 5th; Deane, 6th; Wiecek, 7th; Pawlak, 8th; and Yoshihara, 9th.
“Formula Drift continues to get stronger every season,” said Jonathon Bradford, Falken’s Manager, Motorsports and Events. “The series has such incredible drawing power, attracting people from all over. Of course, Southern California is sort of a breeding ground for drifting and we had a great crowd tonight, in addition to entertaining more than 130 Falken dealers and retail partners. It’s this kind of event – plus scoring first, naturally – that makes our dedication to Formula Drift so worthwhile.”
Now in its 16th year, the 2019 Black Magic Formula Drift Pro Championship Series remains in Long Beach for the Super Drift Challenge, an invitational event that takes place April 12-13, during the Long Beach Grand Prix. Following that competition, the teams will head to Orlando Speed World in Orlando, FL, for a “scorching” Round 2. The challenging track will consistently ignite even the most seasoned veterans when the action takes place on April 26-27.