Faruk Kugay has a tough time at 2020 Formula DRIFT Seattle
Motorsports blood runs thick as oil, and those who feel the love of fast cars know that the bonds formed at the track are the strongest. Long before Team Faruk arrived in Seattle, the Vick family offered support, with father John setting up a public event and meal for the crew, and coordinating parts deliveries from partners around the world. Older son Jonah, a Formula Drift ProAm driver, got his feet wet as part of the team’s crew, while John and younger son Jalen provided tire support services for Nexen Tire drivers throughout the weekend.
Once the team arrived at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA, looking forward to Rounds Three and Four of the Pro Formula DRIFT championship, it was under the familiar heavy skies of the Pacific Northwest.
Thursday’s practice session was rain-soaked, giving Faruk Kugay (Turkey) driving the SGK Performance / Nuke / Eneos Oil / Nexen Tire Nissan S14 Razetil, his first chance to drive the car on a wet track. The slick course and banking added new elements but the team perfected the set up for the conditions.
Through Vick family connections, Auto Truck Service welcomed the team to their garage for all the necessary checks and fluid changes, allowing them to stay warm and dry between practice and competition.
Round Three of the Formula DRIFT PRO Championship on Saturday took place on a wet, oily track under a mix of rain and cloudy skies. The Top 32 match-ups pitted Faruk against FD 2012 Champion, Michael Essa, and on their first run, Faruk collided with him. Faruk took his Competition Timeout to assess the damage to the front of the car.
While his approach was aggressive, Faruk believed the collision was caused by Essa driving an unfollowable lead and filed a protest. The judges ultimately denied the protest, viewing Faruk’s move as his eagerness to maintain the necessary proximity.
Faruk’s lead run was smoother but the judges awarded Essa the win. Essa would ultimately finish third on the day.
For Sunday’s Round 4 battle the competitors were greeted by sunshine as Team Faruk worked tirelessly to finish repairs to Razetil’s front end. In Top 32 competition, Faruk was against Taylor Hull.
Having improved his line and consistency around the course, Faruk gave Hull a good run for his money. However, Hull was given the win, with two judges voting for Hull and the third recognizing the closeness of the competition and voting “One More Time.” Hull went on to compete in the Great 8, finishing in 6th place – his best ever placing in FD PRO.
Being a new and powerful build, Razetil hasn’t been an easy beast to tame. Faruk and the crew work around the clock to improve it. His dedicated team included Can Sandel Atasoy (Media / Spotter), Jason Mohon (Assistant Mechanic), and Josh Weidman (Mechanic), with support provided by a network of people from around the world. And in recognizing all she does for him, Faruk expressed his love last week by proposing to his girlfriend, Rebeca!
Faruk currently holds 64 championship points in the 2020 Formula DRIFT PRO Championship, placing him 26th overall.
Photo credit: Larry Chen, Valters Boze