With a strong start behind them, the Worthouse Drift Team head into the third round of the 2018 Formula Drift Pro season, with high hopes of yet more silverware. The venue is Road Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia and the heat is on.
This fast, undulating track is one of the fan-favourite events of the year, with the lively Atlanta crowd getting behind their favourite drivers from the first turn of a wheel right, down to the tense final battles under floodlights. During qualifying, both Piotr and James were two of the last to put down their qualifying runs as the sun set, with Piotr delivering a 94-point run and firing him straight into joint second place. James’s first qualifying run was an almost replica of Piotr’s, concreting the team’s uniform consistency in the judges eyes at delivering runs on a perfect qualifying line. James topped Piotr by just one point, putting him in joint first place. With a solid first run in the bag, Piotr’s second run saw him go all-out upon entry, but he couldn’t quite make it stick. James followed suit with a high-aggression second run, sadly dropping points along the way.
Regardless, with Piotr securing 7th position and James taking 4th place, the team were all set for a strong main event. With James taking a bye into the Top 16, it was down to Piotr to fight for his own place. In the Top 32 he faced Kyle Mohan, who pushed Piotr to a One More Time before the Worthouse driver secured a unanimous win. At night fell, in the Top 16 Piotr was looking on-form, taking on fellow Falken Tire driver Odi Bakchis. Piotr lead first, pulling a gap on Odi up the hill, a move that Odi couldn’t replicate on his lead run, giving Piotr a spot in the Top 8.
James’s first tandem run of the night wouldn’t be an easy one against Formula Drift veteran Ryan Tuerck, with Tuerck putting down a solid chase run straight off the bat and then James returning the favour, leading to a One More Time. In the second attempt, however, James reminded fans why he’s the defending champion, first leading well and then putting on a chase masterclass and booking his spot in the Top 8. Sadly, it would be in the Top 8 where James’s event would end. During one of the fan-favourite battles of the night, an unstoppable and aggressive Kristaps Bluss would put paid to James’s plans for a podium in Atlanta. It was all down to Piotr to represent from here, facing a formidable Ken Gushi. The Polish Worthouse pilot wasn’t pulling any punches in Atlanta, pushing Gushi around the twisty circuit on his chase run, and unanimously cementing his spot in the semi finals for the second time this season.
Piotr’s semi final opponent would be none other than Bluss. Seeking revenge for his teammate’s defeat, Piotr pushed hard, chasing first, almost atop Bluss around the first turn, however an uncharacteristic spin as Piotr crossed the line was marked it as an incomplete run. A competition timeout was called, and it was discovered that contact between Piotr and Bluss during the first run had broke Piotr’s coilover reservoir, which was now leaking. With no time to swap the upright, the team corrected the alignment and Piotr went back to the line. A safe second run by Bluss was enough to end Piotr’s competition, with Bluss going on to take the overall victory.
Although the podium eluded the Worthouse team this time, Piotr’s fourth-ˇplace finish puts him in 4th in the championship standings, with James just 17 points ahead in 3rd. The Worthouse Drift Team are currently the highest-ranked team in the 2018 championship, and both drivers have their eyes set on a victory at the next round at Wall Speedway, New Jersey on June 1st-2nd.
Images, text and video provided by The Worthouse Drift Team, see a video roundup on their youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCryTmbs4Kr2rf4gzAzy0eCw