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Track: Road Atlanta, GA
Date: 5/12 – 5/13/17

Qualifying position: 23rd

Finishing position: 16th

Notes of interest:

  • Car and driver performed well in practice
  • Threat of rain reduced final practice time, affected qualification
  • Very close result in Top 32 resulted in “One More Time” run

Round 3 of Formula DRIFT – “Road to the Championship” – took place at Road Atlanta on May 12-13. The threat of rain meant track conditions could be treacherous but ENEOS-sponsored driver, Daijiro Yoshihara, was hoping for a good result.

Coming off a podium finish at the previous round in Orlando, Dai had high hopes. He likes the track and recorded good finishes in the past.

Thursday practice showed the potential of his 960hp Chevrolet LSX-powered Subaru BRZ, with the car running hard and fast.

Friday traditionally brings an additional two hours of practice before qualification. However, the Formula DRIFT organizers decided to reduce practice to a single lap to give everybody a chance to complete dry qualification runs before the threatened rain arrived.

“This was a good move,” Dai commented. “It meant everybody had a similar chance at qualification but it didn’t give us much time to acclimate to the track conditions.”

Unfortunately, Dai went off-track during the single practice run, forcing him to be conservative in qualification, especially when a light drizzle dampened the course before his second run. “I wanted to be sure to qualify and didn’t want to risk damaging the car with another off-track excursion,” he explained.

Qualifying in 23rd, Dai would face Ryan Tuerck in his Top 32 run-off. Currently ranked fourth in the country, Ryan would be stiff competition but Dai was determined to go for gold. In their first two runs, the judges were unable to separate the drivers, calling for “One More Time” and sending the drivers out to compete again.

On their next run, Dai was following Ryan but found himself dropping behind slightly. In his effort to close the gap Dai hit Ryan’s car. It was a light touch but resulted in deranged steering and prevented the BRZ from drifting.

The Formula DRIFT regulations allow drivers a five-minute break to fix their car, which Dai’s team was able to do. However, the first run had lost him so many points, all Ryan needed to do was remain close to win the round and proceed to the Top 16.

With his weekend finished early, Dai was able to reflect on his time in Atlanta.

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“The car ran really well and reliably. I was also glad that my run with Ryan was so close the judges couldn’t split us. Unfortunately, the result sucks but I have no regrets,”
-Dai Yoshihara

The next round is in three weeks in New Jersey. It’s another track where Dai has won in the past and he’s looking forward to a better result.

Season schedule:

Mar 31 – Apr 1 Streets of Long Beach  View recap Long Beach, CA NC
Apr 28 – 29 Uncharted Territory View recap Orlando, FL  3rd
May 12 – 13 Road to the Championship Atlanta, GA  16th
Jun 2 – 3 The Gauntlet Wall, NJ
Jul 14 – 15 True North Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Aug 4 – 5 Throwndown Monroe, WA
Sep 8 – 9 Showdown Texas Motor Speedway
Oct 13 – 14 Title Fight Irwindale, CA
TV coverage: All Formula DRIFT rounds can be streamed live from formulad.com/live or watched on delay on CBS Sports www.cbssports.com (see listings for details)

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