Dai Yoshihara Looks Back At First Englishtown Formula DRIFT Round
Round 3 of the 2021 Formula DRIFT PRO Championship took place at the brand new drift arena located at the former NHRA drag strip in Englishtown New Jersey. Raceway Park has been synonymous with drag racer for decades but the management firmly believes its future lies in the growth of the drift scene and has created an incredible facility for drivers and fans.
With the track being new to everybody, Dai Yoshihara (Japan) driving the Turn 14 Distribution / Falken Tire / ENEOS Oil Subaru BRZ had the same learning curve as his 32 competitors and managed to qualify in fifth place, showing the depth of talent the 2011 FD Champion possesses.
His top qualifying position meant he faced Trent Beechum (USA) in the first of the wet competition rounds. At the wheel of his Clonex Racing / Nexen Tire Nissan, Trent struggled to mimic the deep lines run by Dai on his first run. Maintaining a consistent line and hitting all the Outer Zones, Trenton straightened before Outer Zone 3, which meant he needed a really good lead run to remain in the competition.
Despite a decent lead run, Dai kept close proximity and avoided major mistakes. Somewhat inevitably, the judges unanimously gave Dai the win, and he moved on to the Top 16 to face Dean Kearney (Ireland) driving the Oracle Lighting / Team Karnage Viper.
Dai led the first run and once again and filled the Outside Zones. His clean, precise style made it easier for Deane to follow without making any major corrections. On the second run, the roles were reversed, with Dai’ maintaining good proximity throughout the run until he made contact with Dean a couple of feet from the finish line. This caused Dean to spin across the finish line.
With Dai deemed to be at fault for the collision in the very wet conditions, he was eliminated from the round. Kearney would advance to the Top 8 where he’d fall to the eventual round winner, Matt Field (USA).
Finishing in 10th place overall at Round 3, his best result this season, Dai and the Turn 14 Distribution / Falken Tire / ENEOS Oil Subaru BRZ gained seven places in the overall standings, jumping up to 19th in the 2021 FD PRO Drivers’ Championship
The 2021 FD PRO Championship heads to another new track – Lake Erie Speedway in Pennsylvania on July 9-10 for Round 4: Borderlands.