Maxxis, Falken in action in British Drift Championship
The British Drift Championship’s third round at the Teesside Autodrome saw two major drifting tyre brands competing for top spots in the championship standings. Title sponsors of the series Maxxis supported third-placed drifter Paul Smith, moving him up to fifth in the Super Professional Championship, while the Falken brand supported Matt Carter claimed his third consecutive second place podium position to maintain his lead at the top, and Team Green Falken’s domination of the Team Championship.
Falken’s drifters are having a successful season in this year’s Formula Drift Championship – North America’s premier drifting series – and have broadened their horizons by competing in European events, such as the British Drift Championship. The team experienced mixed fortunes at Teesside, with two of the team’s cars retired from competition due to mechanical issues in addition to Carter’s podium position.
Fresh back from a demo at the Nürburgring, Germany in front of thousands of race fans, Team Falken UK’s three cars needed some maintenance and repairs to be made prior to the event. Paul Cheshire’s Nissan Skyline G35 had developed a front pulley problem, which continued to affect the power steering when under load in spite of the team’s best efforts, ending his event. Meanwhile the turbo on Alan Green’s Nissan S14 had overheated due to the higher octane fuel in Germany and as a result the area surrounding the turbo was seriously heat damaged. The components were replaced, but the car misfired anyway, making the course near impossible to navigate.
Matt Carter’s Nissan S14 saw the most track time of the three at the Nürburgring and as a result of ongoing hard use throughout the season the differential shattered during the final day’s passenger runs. With a new differential installed for Teesside Carter was attacking the course hard in practice and was already attracting positive predictions for a win at Round 3. Prior to the event he sat five points behind championship leader Mark Luney so a finishing position above Luney would see him take the lead in the championship, a goal that was achieved when Luney was eliminated in his Top 16 battle.
Carter commented: “It was great to be back at Teesside. The last time I was here I was on the number one spot, this time seconddue to a silly mistake. However I am very happy to be leading the championship at the half-way point of the season!”
Team Falken UK will next be in action at Awesomefest 2011 at Mallory Park (29-31 July). They are next in competition at Knockhill Circuit, Scotland, for Round 4 of the 2011 British Drift Championship on 20-21 August.
The regular Maxxis-supported Team Japspeed trio of Paul Smith, Steve Biagioni and Shane Lynch in the Super Pro class was joined by Shane O’Sullivan in the RB25-powered S15 – one of several Prodrift drivers to make the journey from Ireland. Smit overcame a technical glitch to take the top spot in qualifying with Shane O’Sullivan in fourth and Shane Lynch in 11th, and while a broken driveshaft brought Steve Biagioni’s weekend to a premature end, the crowds were delighted to see the Impreza drifting again.
The three remaining Team Japspeed drivers duly progressed into the Top Eight but after Carter got the better of O’Sullivan and Lynch’s V8 S15 was forced to retire, Smith was left to carry the team’s hopes. He lost out to eventual winner Steve Moore in the semi-finals but then drove on the limit in the battle for third/fourth spot, overcoming David Waterworth to scoop the podium.
In the Maxxis-sponsored SATS Cosworth Luney lost sight of the track in tyre smoke, clipping the tyre wall and ripping off the car’s rear bumper to end his challenge.
- Falken Tyres’ mixed 24 hours at the Nürburgring
- Recovered Maxxis-sponsored Impreza hopeful of return in Middlesbrough BDC
- Niezen wins, Maxxis makes podium at British Drift Championship round 2