D1GP Odaiba - Tokyo Drift Part 2: The Race

I am hoping that everyone enjoyed my tour of the pits in Part 1, as the cars that being thrown around each and every corner throughout the entire season of D1GP are true masterpieces of JDM tuning art. 


It is now time to see how they go around the compact at twisty track of D1GP Odaiba, which is a basically a one big parking lot.

As the organizers were taking their time to welcome the fans to the arena, the drivers were taking it around the track greeting the capacity crowd.

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

The competition went off to a flying start with Tezuka engaging in close battle with Yokoi who ended up taking the edge in a very tight battle.

Daigo Saito in his tuned Frankenstein version of JZX100 Mark II was up against Nobushige Kumakubo behind the wheel of the V8 powered S15 Silvia. 

But even with twice the amount of cylinders over the stock Silvia it was no match to Daigo's straight six monster.

 who almost effortlessly slid his way through to the next round.

There was plenty of excitement and drama in the opening round as the pair Russian drivers squared off against one other.  The judges ruled in favor of Georgy Chivchyan in the S15.

Crowd favorite Naoto Suenaga produced quite a performance as he smoked his way past Takayama's luxury GS350 drift-mobile.

Then we had a chance to witness what could be the future of D1.  Many enthusiasts are beginning to criticize D1 for the repetitiveness of the participating cars, but as we saw today that is about to change...

The arena was filled with sounds of anger of the NASCAR powered V8 propelling the Imamura's Rocket Bunny kitted 86.  But he couldn't separate himself from the massive power of Kawabata's R35 eventually allowing him to win the round.

The competition in the first round was fierce to the point where judges were having hard time calling the scores.

In good D1 traditions they allowed drivers defeated in Round 1 to proceed by attempting to do speed runs around the drift course. With only four slots available, Takayma bowed out of the competition after scoring a moderate 96km/h.

Second round saw the Russian hero  Georgy Chivchyan square off against Daychapon Toyingcharoen of Thailand in the 350z wearing 370's face.

Much to the excitement of the crowd Georgy Chivchyan was taking Daychapon Toyingcharoen to school throughout 1st run.  Second run saw the Thai driver completely lose his grip and spin out.  All was set for Gocha (as he is known to the local crowd) to win, but then....

...his car miraculously shut down right in front of the finish line!  A true nightmare for the flying Russian as he saw Pon nonchalantly cruise through scoring tournaments lowest 4, which were enough to secure a place in the final round. 

But it wasn't the victor for whom the spoils went.  The crowed was ecstatic over extraordinary performance of the Russian and made themselves heard with non stop Gocha chants!

It was then time for clash of the titans! Masato Kawabata went head to head against Daigo Saito! 

Both machines tuned for tremendous amounts of torque, which both drivers were more than capable to take full advance of, instantly covering entire venue in thick cloud of smoke. 

But Kawabata was on top of his game and despite Saito's excellent run, Kawabata crushed him with score 11-8 in the second run!  I've never seen score go above 10!

Naoto Suenaga went against Yukio Matsui in the EXEDY R Magic RX-7.  Despite Mastui being able to use the light weight of the FD3S to his advantage and literally throw the cars into corners securing that all important entry speed and angle, he was no match to Suenaga's ability and 1000 horse power RB26 powering the S15.

The race of ultra light S13 driven by Nakamura and ZN6 in the hands of Nomura  was also quite spectacular to watch as it reminded us that there is more than one approach to drifting.  Both drivers showed tremendous entry speed and insane angles, but it was Nakamura who emerged victorious.

Shame for Nomura as his tricked out 86 was a joy to watch.

As we entered the finals the sun has settled and the drivers took to the stage for a session of night drifting while organizers modified the layout of the course!  With nobody being familiar with the new layout and course being consumed by darkness, perhaps it was supposed to reprise the glory days of grass roots mountain drifting.  To add icing on the cake, Pon's Z33 has lost its alternator and was forced to race with lights off.  With his car completely giving up after 1st bout, it was the end of his day.

It was the usual line up of veterans such as Tanaka who took the center stage and fought hard making the unfamiliar and dark track look like it was their their own back yard.

The surprising performance of Nakamura took him all the way to the finals,

where he was facing the monster.... Kawabata felt no pressure and took exhibition championship crown; thus concludingthis year's season of D1GP.

This completes our coverage of D1 exhibition round, but the event is not over yet, as the party is just getting started, so please stay tuned and check in for update in next few days.

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