Dai Yoshihara Travels to Lake Erie Speedway for its Inaugural Formula DRIFT Event
Round 4 of the 2021 Formula DRIFT PRO Championship took place at another facility that was new to the Formula DRIFT series. This time it was Lake Erie Speedway, which has been popular with local drivers for years and is now part of the national PRO schedule.
A new course was devised by Formula DRIFT to challenge the drivers and create high-speed, close action for the large crowd enjoying the action. Unfortunately, rain dominated Friday qualifying, which added to Dai’s frustration in the in the Turn 14 Distribution / Falken Tire / ENEOS Oil Subaru BRZ. With particularly heavy rain for his first run, Dai ended the session in the bottom 8 and had a chance to run a second time thanks to the Knockout Qualifying Format introduced for 2021.
Despite a better run, 2011 FD Champion qualified 29th and last; his lowest position since he joined FD in 2004. And to exacerbate the problem, his qualifying position meant he was matched against 2021 Formula DRIFT PRO Championship points leader, Matt Field in the opening Top 32 competition heats.
With the track dry for Saturday competition, Matt led their first run and made a small correction after Outer Zone 1 on the Speedway’s banking. Dai follow Matt with good proximity throughout the course and put himself in a good position for his lead run.
As Dai initiated aggressively into Outer Zone 1 on his lead run, he made contact with the wall, losing his rear spoiler, which momentarily compromised his line. Regaining the drift, Dai completed the run but the judges felt his mistake had caused him to lose control and was more egregious than Matt’s correction. As a result, Dai was eliminated from the Top 32 and would finish Round 4 in 29th position.
Hopefully, a return to familiar territory at FD Seattle for Round 5 on July 30/31 will see Dai return to his winning ways in what is turning into a season to forget.
The 2021 FD PRO Championship heads to Evergreen Speedway in Washington on July 30-31 for Round 5: Throwdown.