In some ways, Fredric Aasbo’s podium finish at Formula Drift Seattle was expected. A few short years of experience competing in the series has given him all the tools he’s needed to join the ranks of the world’s best drivers. Given that, it seemed like it was only a matter of time until things would slide into place this season.
However, as we’ve seen repeatedly just this year alone, nothing is guaranteed when you’re dealing with a motorsport as unpredictable as drifting. There have been several points this season where it looked like the Papadakis Racing team had Fredric’s Hankook Tire Scion Racing tC well on its way to a top finish, only to have that outcome derailed by things like errant transmission issues, or heavy contact with other drivers.
After a certain point, all you can really do is hold your own line and hope that the little breaks you need go your way.
Fredric had been doing that all through the season, delivering results with almost unnerving consistency. A string of Great 8 finishes through each of the first four rounds of the year had him comfortably positioned among the series’ top drivers, but just outside of arm’s reach of the Formula D Pro Championship.
Although Fredric submitted the 2nd best qualifying score of the event, his spot in the bracket had him on pace for a rematch against Daigo Saito in the Great 8 – a battle that had the potential to rearrange the championship standings. While Fredric held up his end by eliminating Jhonnattan Castron in the Top 32 and then Tyler McQuarrie in the Top 16, Daigo was unexpectedly knocked out by Toshiki Yoshioka during his own Top 32 matchup, paving the way for Aasbo’s run to the podium.
Unexpected mechanical issues during a Final 4 match up against Chris Forsberg would result in a broken axle that couldn’t be repaired within the 5 minutes allotted by Formula D rules, but the Papadakis Racing team had the car prepared for the consolation matchup against Odi Bakchis, which Aasbo won after taking the OMT battle.
Fredric now has a total of 4 carbon fiber trophies adorning his shelf, but he’s saving room for a larger one that we’re hoping he earns at the end of the season. At just 33.50 points out of 1st place in the Formula D Pro Championship standings, we may just end up looking back at Formula D Seattle as the most pivotal event of the season.
Fredric wasn’t the only Scion Racing driver to make waves at Evergreen Speedway, however, as Tony Angelo and Ken Gushi helped make Round 5 the first event of the season where all three of our drivers made it to the Round of 32. Tony in particular has had his work cut out for him this season, as he’s been working hard with the TAngelo Racing team to develop their completely new chassis.
Tony just missed qualifying in the Top 16 at the event, but he still managed to earn a place in the Top 32 just on the strength of his first run alone. That earned him a matchup against his US Air Force Drift teammate, Odi Bakchis, who as we know, would eventually move on to a Final Four matchup against Aasbo.
The TAngelo Racing team has had an undue amount of work cut out for them this season, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that the TAngelo Racing Scion FR-S is getting closer to where they ultimately want it to be. Tony’s getting closer and closer to where he was last season, and with a stronger platform powering him through, it’s only a matter of time before he returns to the top of the pack.
In contrast, it seems like the worst is finally behind Ken and the GReddy Racing team. Random and unpredictable issues with the motor in the GReddy Racing Scion FR-S left Ken sidelined for a couple of rounds earlier this season, but the team seems to have all of the major issues largely sorted out.
Ken laid down a solid qualifying run for the 2nd straight event, eventually earning the 16th seed and a Top 32 matchup against Chelsea DeNofa. Evergreen Speedway has historically been one of Ken’s stronger tracks, having earned a Final 4 finish there last season in the GReddy Racing Scion FR-S, and he seemed poised to continue that run this year.
Chelsea has been having a generally strong season, but with the GReddy Racing Scion FR-S at full strength, Ken managed to move past him and on to the Top 16 with a set of strong runs. The halftime break gave the team a bit more time to get the car dialed in for his next match against the weekend’s top qualifier, Darren McNamara.
Ken kept it close to DMac during his chase run, and even appeared to have a slight advantage going into the second half of their battle. Unfortunately, when Ken was leading, he pushed it a little too hard and wound up knocking over an off-course marker, which brought his weekend to an end.
Though it’s been a turbulent season for the GReddy Racing team, they’ll be looking to finish the year off strong and carry the momentum into their 2014 campaign. As far as their weekend at Evergreen Speedway goes, however, Ken’s Top 16 finish combined with Fredric’s podium helped Scion Racing earn more points in the Formula D Manufacturer’s Cup, currently being led by our sister brand, Lexus.
We’ll have more coverage from Formula D Seattle coming up, including our recap episode of Driven 2 Drift later this week, so be sure to stay tuned!