• Greg Jones

Official Press Release from FIA DriftCup

On the 30th of September, 24 drivers from 14 countries participated in Leg 1 of the FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup. The event began with the Solo Run, where each driver competed to earn as many points as possible. WANLI FAT FIVE RACING’s Daigo Saito achieved a top speed of 97.0 km/h in his Nissan GT-R, while many other drivers struggled to reach 90km/h. His high average speed and strong start earned him 100.42 points and first place during the Solo Run. The second placed driver was TOYO RACING GLION TRUST RACING’s Masato Kawabata, who earned a total score of 99.58 points in his Nissan GT-R, helped by a strong start and wide drifting angle. Team MAXXOIL Racing’s Charles NG brought third place and 98.96 points in his Nissan 180SX, through his stable driving and wide angle. The event was followed by the Battle Run, where the top 16 drivers from the Solo Run competed in a tournament-style competition. The drivers who earned higher scores in the Solo Run ran in the first round. The remaining eight drivers participated in the second round, leaving two Japanese and two Russian drivers. In the semi-finals, WANLI FAT FIVE RACING’s Daigo Saito (Nissan GT-R) competed against PRIMRING TEAM with TOYO TIRES’ Georgy Chivchyan (Nissan Silvia), and won with his stunning proximity to Chivchyan’s car. In the race between TOYO TIRES GLION TRUST RACING’s Masato Kawabata (Nissan GT-R) and PRIMRING TEAM with TOYO TIRES’ Arkady Tsaregratsev (Nissan Skyline), Kawabata was able to maintain a higher overall speed, earning him more points. The battle for third place between Chivchyan and Tsaregratsev, Traregratsev had the edge with his proximity to the leading car. The final showdown was between Daigo Saito and Masato Kawabata. During the first run, Kawabata’s front end hit the back of Saito’s car while swerving back from a drift, interrupting Saito. However, neither car suffered any severe damage meaning the race was able to continue. After the second run, the scores were level, which meant a tie-breaker was necessary.

The first run of the tie-breaker, Kawabata controlled his machine perfectly, and earned a SUNPROS

two point advantage over Saito. During the second run, Saito was able to close in on Kawabata, but had a smaller drifting angle, which left him with only a 1.5 point lead, meaning Kawabata was victorious. FIA President Jean Todt awarded the cup to WANLI FAT FIVE RACING’s Daigo Saito, who earned first place in Leg 1 of the Solo Run, and to TOYO TIRES GLION TRUST RACING’s Masato Kawabata, who earned first place in the Battle Run. Daigo Saito (WANLI FAT FIVE RACING/Nissan GT-R) – 1st Place (Solo Run) “During the first run, I was unable to reach Masato Kawabata’s score although I thought I was pushing myself. I focused on improving on some of my weaker areas during that run, and on my second try, I was able to earn over 100 points and successfully win the Solo Run.”

Masato Kawabata (TOYO TIRES GLION TRUST RACING/Nissan GT-R) – 2nd Place (Solo Run) “During my practice runs, I was earning around 98 points, but during the actual run I was able to push myself and earn 99 points. However, that apparently wasn’t enough as Daigo Saito went on to earn over 100 points. I’m looking forward to tomorrow to push myself even harder.”

Charles NG (Team MAXXOIL Racing/Nissan 180SX) – 3rd Place (Solo Run) “I had just brought my car from Thailand, and I did not have a lot of time to practice since I got to Japan. When I first got in to the car, I noticed that the settings were not quite right, but the team was able to pull together to adjust the suspension and tire pressure for the track here in Tokyo and helped me achieve this result. I’m really happy to be here competing on the International stage, and hopefully I can score another podium tomorrow.” Masato Kawabata (TOYO TIRES GLION TRUST RACING/Nissan GT-R) – 1st Place (BattleTournament)

“My team was able to prepare my GT-R that had just participated in a race in Russia on short notice, and get it ready for the race. My performance wasn’t perfect, but I’m happy that I was able to win first place and I am thankful to my team and staff members who helped me along the way.” Daigo Saito (WANLI FAT FIVE RACING/Nissan GT-R) – 2nd Place (Battle Tournament) “I moved up to the final round fairly smoothly, but made a few mistakes during the last round that resulted in this loss. I’m slightly disappointed, but I have another opportunity to compete tomorrow, so I hope to adjust my car and my racing style to push myself even harder for the next race.”Arkady Tsaregratsev (PRIMRING TEAM with TOYO TIRES/Nissan Skyline) – 3rd Place (Battle Tournament)

“I’m overjoyed that I was able to participate in the semi-final race, and was honored to run alongside Mr. Kawabata. I think the biggest reason for my loss was my car’s slow speed. In the RDS series in Russia, cars like Mr. Kawabata’s and Mr. Saito’s don’t exist, so I wasn’t used to their faster style of drifting. I think I am better prepared now and am looking forward to competing again tomorrow.” Facebook Live Stream URL for the competition of the 1st of October

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