Sunny Scotland?!? Yeah, I know I cannot believe myself. But this isn’t a weather news.
British drift championship and it’s third round - probably last one I did this year.. But as they say - last, but not least. I had the image in my head Driftland being a wee bit bigger, internet tricked me! It’s superb track in my eyes, it has a certain aura.
The spacious pit zone on the gravel was a pleasant surprise, although quite soon I’ve changed my mind. Since it was so dry, it was dust everywhere. All cars in the pit zone after some time were covered in the thick layer of dust.
Weekend started with Saturdays Pro-AM practice, couple hours for guys to prep themselves for the qualifying and competition later this day.
Let me tell you - the level of local Scotish drivers is impressive. I know these guys get loads of seat time on this track, but I guess having that home crowd support is really important as well.
I cannot tell you the number of drivers that were battling in Pro-AM qualification (just because I am too lazy to check), but so many were left behind the TOP 24 bracket, while the TOP qualifier was Ryan Caldwell, with the score of 86,7.
Pro drivers had only an hour gap to get themselves on the track for some quick practice that day, before the Pro-AM battles were due to start.
The rest of the day was dedicated for Pro-AM battles, with a lot of local drivers fighting in the battles.
The TOP 3 finishers that day were Ricky Lawrence taking the first spot on the podium and this you could’ve expected, since he’s a Driftland driver! Irish boy - Andrew Earle finished second, leaving an Scottish guy - Callum Marshall behind - in the third spot. I have to mention that the fourth spot that day was taken by Lithuanian - Nerijus Voliukevičius, not bad as for the first time in Pro-AM. No pics - sorry.. :D Here are some cute doggos instead.
The next day was to be the main competition day - I was told that the final results of this day might decide the final stands of the season, with Duane Mckeever dominating the competition so far.
Pro drivers had few hours of practice on the track in the morning. I was amazed how consistent everyone was with the driving. No serious crashes, just a few off road bits, bent toe rods and couple debeaded tires.
With the practice being done it was time for the first part of the competition - qualifying runs - as per usual in BDC they are in reverse order. From the lowest stands holder in the season to the highest. Me being completely “bias” - I was cheering for the home boy Vaškelis - after having to retire his E30 at the practice on Saturday due to oil pressure issue, he took his spare E46 and nailed the track in the qualifying coming 4th, with cracked intake manifold. The main spot in qualification was taken by Martin Richards - a Driftworks driver.
I mentioned this before, but Driftland has a certain aura and spectators here seem different than anywhere else I’ve been in UK so far. You should’ve heard the crowd every single time they were asked if they want local Scotish guy to win the battle.
Anyway - back to the driving. Drift depends a lot of track conditions - it stayed dry pretty much all weekend, just right before TOP 24 battles it started drizzling and track being all layed by rubber became a bit slippery.
That might mixed some cards for guys at Top 24, more mistakes and spins happened at this part of the competition than usual. The guest driver - Sultan Al Qassimi - after a one more time battle had to watch the rest of the competition from top of the stands. With his new “ArabFighter”, HGK build BMW E92, he still struggled to find himself handling the car well, too much grip this time didn’t do much good for his performance.
I love how much spotlight BDC gives to its best drivers - Top 16 Pro parade is always a nice gesture, right before they have to head for the final bit of the day, it helps to take parts of stress away!
Highlight of the day was Top 16 battles. As the battles started, Lithuanian driver Aurimas Vaškelis was knocked out by local Scotish driver in e36. I spoke with Aurimas right before the battles, he said, he’s not feeling confident about the chase run against this local guy and that seemed to be the main problem at his run. Martin Richards had a pretty ugly off track experience - mistake done by opponent got his steering arm bent badly, which resulted in him ending up on the gravel and being brought back to pits on recovery vehicle. Thus he went straight to Top 8 and had plenty time to fix his car and continue to next battles.
Final four drivers left was quite an interesting combination. Two Brits - Richards, Drift works driver, Carter - Japspeed driver, one Irish - Duane Mckeever and one Scottishman - Marshall - driver that took third spot on the podium in Pro AM competition the day before.
As many of you already know or guessed or the title gave it up - Duane Mckeever remained undefeated this season so far. I don’t know what Tri-Ace is mixing in those tires compound, but that guy is really fast. Martin Richards had to remain behind being unable to stay on Mckeevers doors and ending up on the second spot on the podium. Third place was taken by Callum Marshall and oh boy the crowd cheered when his name was said out loud! Matt Carter was left with the fourth place finish this day.