Long Beach, Calif. – June 1, 2013 – Formula DRIFT presented by GoPro returned to Palm Beach International Raceway for Round 3: Invasion. Michael Essa in the GSR Autosport / Yokohama Tire BMW M3 takes the victory and moves into third place overall in the standings.
Round 3: Invasion returned for the third consecutive season to South Florida to a capacity crowd. The fans were treated to exciting on-track action intermingled with the Slammed Society car show and display of cars from the Targa Trophy.
“South Florida continues to prove to be a viable market with another capacity crowd,” stated Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “The spirit of competition also continues to rise and is at the highest level it has ever been, which has made an amazing season thus far.”
The skies cleared up for the main event day and the crowds flocked to the venue. The technical track featured a fast entry that proved to be a challenge for some of the drivers with many favorites failing to enter the later rounds of competition. The consolation round pitted Robbie Nishida in the Bridges Racing / Achilles Lexus SC300 against Vaughn Gittin in the Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang. After failing to reach the line after a Competition Timeout following mechanical problems from the previous round, Gittin conceded to give Nishida the win and third place. The final battle pitted Michael Essa in the GSR Autosport / Yokohama Tire BMW M3 against returning champion Daigo Saito in the Bridges Racing / Achilles Tire Lexus SC430, who also won this event last season. The battle was fierce, but Essa took the victory after Saito had a slight error in his chase run. This is Essa’s first Formula DRIFT pro championship podium and victory, which moves him into third place overall in the standings. Saito in the process moves into first place overall with Gittin closely behind him in second place.
“It’s surreal. We started this week with some issues and didn’t qualify well,” said Michael Essa, winner of Round 3: Invasion. “The team put together a solid car and thanks to Yokohama Tire, Bilstein, Garret and the rest of the sponsors we were able to win. We need to keep the momentum going and I can’t wait for the next round.”
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Formula DRIFT Professional Championship Presented by GoPro 2013 Standings After Three Rounds
1. Saito, Daigo Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 257 Points
2. Gittin Jr., Vaughn Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR 244 Points
3. Essa, Michael GSR Autosport / Yokohama BMW M3 241.50 Points
4. Forsberg, Chris NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Nissan 370Z 202 Points
5. Aasbo, Fredric Hankook Tire Scion Racing tC 197.50 Points
6. Yoshihara, Daijiro Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 195 Points
7. Moen, Kenneth Lutz Performance / Nexen Tire Nissan 240SX 184 Points
8. Pawlak, Justin Falken Tire Ford Mustang 182.50 Points
9. McNamara, Darren Falken Tire Nissan S14 180.50 Points
10. Bakchis, Aurimas Nexen Tire Nissan S14 166.50 Points
11. Tuerck, Ryan Team Retaks / Maxxis Scion Racing FR-S 150.50 Points
12. Field, Matt CX Racing / Blacktrax Nissan 240SX 144.50 Points
13. Wang, Forrest Get Nuts Labs Nissan 240SX 136.50 Points
14. DeNofa, Chelsea BC Racing BMW 3 Series 130 Points
15. Nishida, Robbie Bridges Racing / Achilles Tire Lexus SC300 127.50 Points
16. Powers, Matt Nitto Tire / Fatlace Nissan S14 119 Points
Round 3: Invasion Event Results
1. Essa, Michael GSR Autosport / Yokohama BMW M3 Winner
2. Saito, Daigo Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 Second Place
3. Nishida, Robbie Bridges Racing / Achilles Tire Lexus SC300 Third Place
Manufacturers Championship Standings After Three Rounds
1. Ford 426.50 Points
2. Lexus 414.25 Points
3. Nissan 386 Points
4. Scion 379 Points
5. BMW 371.50 Points
Tire Championship Standings After Three Rounds
1. Falken 461 Points
2. Achilles 417.50 Points
3. Nitto 408 Points
4. Hankook 399.50 Points
5. Yokohama 320.50 Points
The fifth Formula Drift Asia season is set for a showdown finale this weekend at Formula Drift Indonesia, the third leg of the series to be held on November 17 and 18 at the West Parking Area of Jakarta International Expo (JI Expo) in Kemayoran, Jakarta. At the end of the competition on Sunday, we will witness the crowning of the Formula Drift Asia 2012 champion. Current championship leader Daigo Saito of the Achilles Drift Team, who has won the previous two rounds in Singapore and Malaysia, is confident of defending his title.
Daigo, the recently-crowned Formula Drift USA 2012 champion and reigning Formula Drift Asia champion said, “I am pretty confident about winning the Formula Drift Asia series. It would be a perfect ending for me and my sponsor Achilles to wrap up the season with a win at Jakarta and the overall title.”
Standing in second and third place of the championship are Tengku Djan Ley, Malaysia’s Prince of Drift, and Rio Saputro of Indonesia who will be eager to perform well on homeground. Toughening up the competition will be Formula Drift USA regulars Kenshiro Gushi and Robbie Nishida, as well as Indonesians drifting stars Emmanuel Amandio and Rulli Armando who finished second at last year’s Indonesian leg.
Making his Formula Drift Asia debut with the RS-R team is Fredric Aasbo, the Norwegian drifter who made a mark in the North American drift scene when he clinched the Rookie of the Year award at the 2010 Formula Drift USA series.
Commenting on his first time in the Southeast Asian premier drifting series, he said, “I am absolutely honoured to get to drive the RS-R Toyota Supra, which has previously been driven by my Scion Racing team mate Ken Gushi and the original drifting guru Max Orido. I have a lot of faith in the RS-R crew as they know the Formula Drift Asia scene and competition format very well. I am very excited to get to work with them for this round. This is a learning experience for me, but – as always – we will be taking on the competition to the best of our ability.”
In addition to the main event, the new competition segment introduced this year will not be missed in Jakarta. Called the 36BOL Asia Drift, selected drivers will be paired up to represent their sponsors and perform two tandem runs where points are awarded for teamwork and coordination. The team with the most stylish and best executed runs wins.
Giving more recognition to the drivers and the crew, new subsidiary awards have also been added for this year. Besides the typical overall driver and team championship awards, there will be:
Pioneer of Drift award – Recognizes the driver involved who has significantly contributed to the scene in Asia since the inaugural Formula Drift Asia event.
Spirit of Drifting award – Recognizes the efforts of the driver who believes in the sport and keeps on trying at every single round regardless
Best Drift Style award
Team Manager of the Year award
Crew of the Year award
With the fans at heart, exciting limited edition memorabilia will be launched at Formula Drift Indonesia. A second limited edition Formula Drift Casio G-Shock watch will be released with Kenshiro Gushi as the ambassador again; this time the watch will be sporting a locally inspired theme. The first Formula Drift G-Shock was launched at the Singapore leg.
A collaboration with Sparco Singapore also sees two exclusive t-shirt designs – a classic “I Love FD” tinged with gold foil and a “Drift or DAI Trying” edition endorsed by Formula Drift USA 2011 champion and Formula Drift Asia judge Daijiro Yoshihara.
Last year, Formula Drift Asia made history with its first ever ‘live’ broadcast at its Indonesian leg. Since then, there has been a ‘live’ broadcast of the Top 16 battles at every round. This weekend, Formula Drift Indonesia 2012 will be broadcasted ‘live’ on STAR Sports on Sunday, November 18, from 3.30pm to 5.30pm (Jakarta time).