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07-13-2004, 04:32 PM
Formula D Sonoma STORY and Results
By Slipstream Global

It was Saturday and set-up for the event begun. Teams and drivers trickled in and vendors were getting situated with their spots. Everyone saw the course lay-out and it was apparent from the beginning that this would be on of the most exciting events yet. The grandstands and the pits we in very close location to each other and the viewing area from the grandstands made every seat a great one. 43 drivers ended up being registered, 8 over the allotted amount and with over 15 on the waiting list it was noted that people wanted in. Drivers started showing up. These guys are the most amazing people you will ever meet. Everyone different, everyone passionate about drifting. The likes of Andy Yen rockin some Dior glasses mobbing up with a packed car of Pac Rimmer's and Tony Angelo. Gush with his posse. Alex Pfeiffer bringing his AE. Club 4 AG boys reppin' the grand set-up showing the true OG status. Benson Hsu sporting his new KAAZ car. JR Gittin mobbing with family. Calvin Wan, local favorite, quiet and reserved but amped for the event, Forsberg with his vintage Aviator glasses. Maverick has arrived. The Toyo boys Schulz and E Jacobs with his infamous bullhorn, Daijiro Yoshihara, "Hooked on LSD", SteveO-liberos, Rhys with is even more improved GTO, Sam and the Mopar boys, and Bondurant and Turbo Huby with Henry and the Moto Dyn crew were amongst some of the regulars and the rest of the boys and girls (Verena and Yoshie) were all in full force. So much energy in the pits so many great people this is what started the weekend. These guys are the future of this sport. No other motor sport has the driver comraderie or excitement that these drivers, teams and sponsors bring any given weekend.

Qualifying starts and finishes, the top 16 are announced. This is always the interesting part of the day because this is where drivers find out how they did and who they will match in the first round Everyone is stoked for the boys who made it. The support is unreal. There are things that always happen. Maybe someone throws down an insane run, maybe there is an accident and a competitor goes out for the day, Maybe Andy Yen puts down one of the most smokey and sideway runs through the entire course we have ever seen from him. Maybe it is apparent that Dai and Gush are throwing down practice tandem runs that would make D1 drivers jealous. Those maybe's were true. The competition is getting crazy! You see the consistency of Sam, the pure raw talent of JR Gittin, the calculating skill of Forsberg. You get to see Alex Pfeiffer put on a show that only he can do.

Driver introductions. Probably one of the most fun parts of the event. Each driver qualifying for the top 16 get to come in and do a WWF-ish type entrance, each with their own theme song. They get a few moments to show the crowd who they are and for the crowd to give their respect and gratitude to the driver. Alex Pfeiffer enters, Me So Horny drops. The crowd burst into laughter. Alex shows of his patented "Rodeo" and the crowd goes crazy. You hear the thunder of "Eye of the Tiger" dropping in and Dai coming down the hill at over 100 hitting the first corner with so much angle you think he is going to spin but he holds the entire thing. Jasper Performance driver Tyler Mcquarrie speeds in with a smokey entrance waving to the crowd. Concise and so consistent, Hiro Sumida enters and the 86 crowd bow in respect. Sam enters, crazy smoke does a 360 in the car, catches the crowd off guard. They know the man can drive. Forsberg, who broke his 350 was driving Ucchi's RHD S-13 and laid down one of the highest scored runs in qualifying. The man is gifted. Gush and Andy Yen killing it. James Bondurant, good, very good. Seimi Tanaka out for his first tiem reppin JIC. Rhys putting down crazy angle could do the course in his sleep. Schulz, cool and collect doing donuts cops would eat. Bad joke, sorry! Smokey Steve-O, the kid has crazy potential.

Pro Demo's. Ucchi, Tarzan, Koguchi and Yamamoto showed why they are some of the best in the world. Koguchi sped at maybe 60 mph headed for the wall of tires and stopped within inches. Everybody went away with layers of tire resin on theri face and smoke filled the area to the point someone could have mistaken it for a brush fire. It was insanity!

Top 16
Only a few comments about top 16 as the brackets will speak for themselves. Some highlights... Gush faced off with Benson and held it down very well but after the first half of the run Gush came hot into the last corner and hit the wall after the judging point. The damage from his car was enough to put the car out of contention. Leave it to Ernie Fixmer who allowed Ken to use his car for the second half of the run. Now bare in mind this is a RHD s-15 conversion and Gush gets no practice at all. After putting up a good fight, the top qualifier from Atlanta and the 3rd place in points after 2 rounds was knocked out. Teammates Vaughn Gittin and Calvin Wan battled each other in one of the best tandem runs of the day. Calvin showed why he can do so well in tandem. When he is on he is on. 2nd place points finisher after two rounds Chris Forsberg battled Team Toyo's Tony Schulz. Forsberg in Ucchi's RHD S-13 battled Tony to a one more time, but a few mistakes left Chris out of the Best 8 competition. In drifting anything can happen and so the 2nd and 3rd place points finishers were knocked out early. Rhys and Steve-O. Insane! On the first run Rhys went wide and Steve-o passed the GTO on the inside. Second run Rhys put down one of the sickest drift ever. Ucchi made a comment saying that was one of the crazyiest things he has ever seen. Rhys went so sideways he almost went backwards but it was set-up so nicely the car was put in position and held that angle all the way around the second turn. After a long battle Rhys moved on. As we progressed through the day Samuel took out Hiro, Wan took out Hsu, Dai beat out Tony Schulz and Millen took out Pfeiffer.

Sam vs Calvin

Sam takes off the line and Calvin's car doesn't move. Long story short the car broke and is done. Competitors have 5 minutes to remedy the problem. The Falken crew run down to the pits and grab JR Gittin's S-13. JR is the man for making that happen. With not a single run in that car Calvin faces off with Samuel. After and exciting battle Sam moves on but that day the heart and determination of C. Wan is undisputed. He is to be commended.

Dai and Rhys

Two consummate professional's two opposite ends of the spectrum. Pacific Rim Silvia S-13 and Pontiac GTO. Rhys with a few mistakes in the first run gave Dai the advantage into the 2nd run. Dai and Rhys ran head to head in the seocnd run but with Dai having the advantage it pushed him to face Samuel in the finals. This was a huge victory for Dai as he was now guaranteed a podium finish and he made up for a close finish (loss) to Rhys at the 10k Shoot Out at Laguna Seca months prior.

Rhys and Calvin (For 3rd place)

With Calvin in Vaughn's car and Rhys looking hot the third place battle looked really exciting. Calvin and Rhys battled with both drivers excelling and making mistakes along the way. In the end Rhys tried to pass Calvin on the inside and calvin was shutting the door and they collided sending Calvin off-line. The judges debated and after much controversy they went "One More Time" After a long and heated battle Team Falken's Calvin Wan got his first podium of the year in 3rd place

Sam and Dai

With the crowd on their feet and the judges eyeing in, the drivers on pit wall, the umbrella girls busting out the atmosphere is in where it should be for a final. With Sam leading and Dai following the two barrel down into the first turn close as physically possible. Both guys lay down basically flawless run. No advantage. Second run. Both guys know they need to out do the other to avoid a "One More Time" Sam with Dai leading he comes in super hot pulls a mean line but just goes a touch wide. The crowd wanting to see the best from both drivers let out a sign of disapointment as Dai goes wide. Sam closes the gap and almost passes but Dai blocks and the run continues. Both are side by side as they cross the finish. With the Dai going wide the judges award the win, the point and the cash to Samuel Hubinette. Round 3 winner of the Need for Speed Underground Formula Drift.


Brackets and Qualifying

TOP 16 Drivers CAR #
1 samuel hubinette 29
2 chris forsberg 23
3 rhys millen 6
4 ken gushi 21
5 vaughn gittin 25
6 james bondurant 28
7 dai yoshihara 31
8 hiroo sumida 16
9 andy yen 8
10 semi tanaka 39
11 alex pfeiffer 2
12 calvin wan 3
13 benson hsu 7
14 steven oliberos 5
15 tony schulz 4
16 tyler mcquarrie 50

INFO
07-13-2004, 04:35 PM
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