Daigo Saito is Victorious at Round 7: Title Fight and is Crowned the 2012 Formula DRIFT Champion

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Long Beach, Calif. – October 13, 2012 – Formula DRIFT returned to Irwindale Speedway for the 2012 season finale. Daigo Saito in the Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 takes the event victory and wins the 2012 Formula DRIFT Championship.

Round 7: Title Fight at Irwindale Speedway showcased drifting in its finest form. For the first time in Formula DRIFT and Irwindale Speedway history the event sold out before the gates opened to the public.

“Last year was so amazing we didn’t think we could do it again, not like this“ said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “This is why we love drifting. We are so energized for season 10 starting April 12-13, 2013.”

The competition was intense as the championship was up for grabs. Entering the event, seven drivers had a chance for the title. This soon changed as top drivers in the chase were taken out early including points leader Vaughn Gittin, Jr. in the Monster Energy / Falken Ford Mustang, defending champion Daijiro Yoshihara, in the America’s Tire / Falken Tire Nissan 240 and the 2009 champion, Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy / Hankook Nissan 370Z. This opened the door for both Daigo Saito and Rhys Millen in the RMR / Hankook Hyundai Genesis Coupe who met in the Final Four. Millen, the number one qualifier took himself out as he went hard into the wall giving the win to Saito. The wall took a number of victims through the competition including Justin Pawlak in the Falken Tire Ford Mustang when he battled Saito in the Finals, giving Saito the event victory. Saito in his rookie year in the Series becomes the first Series rookie to also be crowned Formula DRIFT champion. Saito a seasoned veteran drifter is arguably considered the best drifter in the world winning the Formula DRIFT Asia championship, D1 championship and now Formula DRIFT Pro Championship.

“Luck was with me tonight. I’m very happy to be able to compete in Formula DRIFT this year. I’ve wanted to compete in the Series for so long,” said Daigo Saito, winner of Round 7: Title Fight and 2012 Formula DRIFT champion. “Thank you to Formula DRIFT and Achilles Tires. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the help of everyone that helped me get to this point.”

Formula DRIFT enters its tenth season of competition in 2013. Tickets are on-sale currently and can be purchased through the Formula DRIFT website and Ticketmaster. Round 1: Streets of Long Beach will be held on April 12-13, 2013.

Formula DRIFT Round 7: Title Fight Results

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Formula DRIFT Round 7: Title Fight Results;
Daijiro Yoshihara Wins the Championship and Tyler McQuarrie Takes the Event Victory

Long Beach, Calif. – October 8, 2011 – Formula DRIFT returned to the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale for the final event of the 2011 season. Daijiro Yoshihara in the America’s Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 won the championship, while Tyler McQuarrie in the Falken Tire Nissan 350Z took the event victory.

Round 7: Title Fight concluded the most successful season in Formula DRIFT history. The sold out crowd eclipsed attendance records for the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale and is now the largest Formula DRIFT event in history.

“First of all we would like to congratulate Dai on his first championship. He has worked hard for over 8 years and has consistently had good results and its awesome to see it pay off for him,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “You couldn’t script the finals to be any better capping off the season with excitement and drama and ending on a high note to a sell out crowd to be the largest drifting event we have ever produced.”

With the championship decided in the Final 4 competition, the event was far from over. Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Nissan 370Z defeated Darren McNamara in the consolation round to secure third place for the event and also move him up into third place overall. The final battle of the evening pitted Rhys Millen in the Redbull / Hankook Hyundai Genesis Coupe against Tyler McQuarrie. After an intense battle McQuarrie took the victory moving himself up to finish in the fifth standing position for the season.

“To win in Irwindale is massive for any driver and to do it under the circumstances surrounding this week is incredible,” stated Tyler McQuarrie, winner of Round 7: Title Fight. “This victory paints a better picture and gives me the momentum heading into the off-season.”

The results of the event could only be described as the ultimate finish to crown a champion. This event was the closest and most competitive chase for the championship in Formula DRIFT history, with 5 drivers entering with a chance at the title. Rookie of the year honors went to Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis. Many scenarios played out with such a close gap in the point standings. Daijiro Yoshihara entered with the point lead and was taken out early in the Top 16 opening the door for the others to take the championship. Yet, the stars were aligned for Yoshihara and by a narrow margin he was able to hold onto the lead to win the 2011 Formula DRIFT Championship along with the Tires.com Triple Crown. Marking the first time in Series history that the champion also wins the bonus prize.

“It’s a great feeling and a dream come true,” said Daijiro Yoshihara, 2011 Formula DRIFT champion. “After 8 years of driving it finally paid off. I owe a lot to my team and sponsors. My new goal will be to defend the championship and win it outright during the event.”

Formula DRIFT Round 7: Title Fight Results

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Formula DRIFT Round 7: Title Fight Results;
Tanner Foust Takes the Event Victory while Vaughn Gittin, Jr. is Crowned 2010 Champion

Long Beach, Calif. – October 10, 2010 – Formula DRIFT entered the final event of the 2010 season at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale for Round 7: Title Fight. Tanner Foust in the Rockstar Energy Scion Racing TC takes the event victory and becomes the Tires.com Triple Crown winner, while Vaughn Gittin, Jr. in the Monster Energy / Falken Ford Mustang is crowned the 2010 Formula DRIFT champion.

The Toyota Speedway at Irwindale hosted the finale event to a sold out crowd. The action was non-stop all weekend featuring the Formula DRIFT ProAM championship, Fatlace One of One Showcase car show, and the Formula DRIFT championship. In addition this was the first drifting event to be filmed in 3D by DirecTV with an air-date to be announced. The event was also featured live online via the DriftStream to a global audience.

“It was another successful event to cap off an amazing season,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “To end the season at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale to a sold out crowd in one of the largest event markets in North America showcases the strength of drifting fans.”

The finale event did not fail to disappoint showcasing intense drifting action to determine a new champion. The battle for third place pitted Darren McNamara in the Falken Tire Saturn Sky against Michihiro Takatori in the BF Goodrich Nissan S15. McNamara pushed his car too hard hitting the wall taking himself out of the competition giving Takatori third place. The finale battle put 2-time Formula DRIFT champion Tanner Foust against Vaughn Gittin, Jr. After a close One More Time battle, Foust edged out Gittin to take the event victory and also secure his first Tires.com Triple Crown bonus prize.

“This was one of the most epic Formula DRIFT events of all time,” said Tanner Foust, winner of Round 7: Title Fight. “This is the best track to drift and in front one of the biggest crowds. The drivers stepped it up from the Top 32 and on and gave everyone attending a great show. No one seemed to care about protecting their car and threw it all out there. I can finally close the door on my chase for the Triple Crown as I’ve been chasing it for years being so close multiple times and want to give it up to Tires.com for the opportunity.”

With his advancement into the Top 16, Vaughn Gittin, Jr. secured the 2010 Formula DRIFT championship. Gittin found the podium 6 out of the 7 events through the season on his way to his first championship.

“This is just simply unbelievable,” exclaimed Vaughn Gittin, Jr., 2010 Formula DRIFT Champion. “This has been a dream of mine for the past 7 years. It is a true accomplishment for my team and a testament to their commitment to the sport.”

For more information and details visit the Formula DRIFT website at: www.formuladrift.com

Formula DRIFT Professional Championship 2010 Point Standings

1. Gittin, Vaughn Monster Energy / Falken Tire Ford Mustang 632 Points
2. Foust, Tanner Rockstar Energy Scion TC 568.50 Points
3. Tuerck, Ryan Mobil 1 / Maxxis Tire / Gardella Racing Pontiac Solstice 515 Points
4. Yoshihara, Daijiro Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 514 Points
5. McNamara, Darren Falken Tire Saturn Sky 477.50 Points
6. Forsberg, Chris NOS Energy Drink / CFR Nissan 350Z 439 Points
7. Millen, Rhys RMR / Red Bull Hyundai Genesis Coupe 417 Points
8. McQuarrie, Tyler Falken Tire Nissan 350Z 396.50 Points
9. Takatori, Michihiro BF Goodrich / Exedy Nissan S13 374 Points
10. Hubinette, Samuel SHR-Dodge / BF Goodrich Dodge Challenger 357 Points
11. Pawlak, Justin Ford Racing / Falken Tire Ford Mustang 354.50 Points
12. Grunewald, Conrad Hankook Tire Chevy Camaro 295 Points
13. Aasbo, Fredric Japan Auto Toyota Supra 279.50 Points
14. Maeng, Joon Full Tilt Poker / Nitto Tire Mazda RX-8 271.25 Points
15. Gushi, Ken Scion Racing / RS*R Scion TC 252.50 Points
16. Powers, Matt Need for Speed / Nitto Tire Nissan 240 238 Points

Round 7: Title Fight Event Results

1. Foust, Tanner Rockstar Energy Scion TC 1st Place
2. Gittin, Vaughn Monster Energy / Falken Tire Ford Mustang 2nd Place
3. Takatori, Michihiro BF Goodrich / Exedy Nissan S13 3rd Place

Tires.com Triple Crown Final Standings

1. Foust, Tanner Rockstar Energy Scion TC 273 Points
2. Gittin, Vaughn Monster Energy / Falken Tire Ford Mustang 249 Points
3. McNamara, Darren Falken Tire Saturn Sky 228 Points