Yoshihara Scores Top 16 Finish at 2021 Formula Drift Long Beach
Making its long awaited return to the Streets of Long Beach after almost 2.5 years, Formula DRIFT brought the noise to the famous Long Beach Grand Prix street course for Round 7: Autozone Streets of Long Beach Presented by TYPE S on September 18, 2021. The ENEOS-sponsored, 2011 FD PRO champ Dai Yoshihara battled it out in perfectly sunny weather for a chance of late-season redemption before the Irwindale Final.
With a strong qualifying session that put him in fifth position for the Top 32 competition heats, Dai was paired against his long-time Japanese friend Ken Gushi. With Dai leading on the first run in his Turn 14 Distribution / Falken Tire / ENEOS Oil Subaru BRZ, Gushi made contact with Dai during initiation. This caused Dai to slow, lose proximity, and run a tighter line through Touch & Go 1 and Outer Zone 1; Gushi’s angle also reduced from Touch & Go 2 to Inside Clip 1.
On his follow run, Dai kept good proximity to Gushi through Touch & Go 1 and Outer Zone 1, running a tighter line going into Inner Clip 1. Due to both drivers making mistakes on their chase runs, the judges unanimously called for One More Time.
For Dai’s second lead run, Gushi again made contact during the initiation before Touch & Go 1, causing Dai to lose drift; Gushi was deemed at fault for the collision and he was scored with an incomplete run.
As Dai chased, he followed Gushi with good proximity and without any major mistakes. All judges voted for Dai to move to the Top 16.
Meeting his Falken Tire teammate, Dai led smoothly against Odi Bakchis, creating a gap from initiation to Touch & Go 1. However, Odi was able to keep close proximity from Outsize Zone 1 until the end.
Dai was also able to maintain good proximity to Odi on his chase throughout the entire run, but ran more shallow in Outsize Zone 1. The judges felt Odi had better proximity on his chase, and gave him the win on a split decision. Dai finished 10th overall for Round 7.
Dai and the Turn 14 Distribution / Falken Tire / ENEOS Oil Subaru BRZ will be in action again at the Formula DRIFT season finale, Round 8: TYPE S Title Fight, which takes place at the House of Drift, Irwindale Speedway, on October 23, 2021.