The Fight Goes On In Florida
The Worthouse Drift Team’s 2019 campaign moved into second gear as the championship visited Orlando Speed World in Florida for round two of Formula Drift 2019. A mixture of mechanical issues, poor luck and strong opposition performance would see current champion James Deane eliminated during the Top 16 whilst teammate Piotr Więcek would fight on to reach the Top 8.
Piotr’s practice wasstraightforward and his qualifying was impressive. Straight out of the gate in qualifying he wowed the judges with a near-flawless 98 point run, rocketing him straight to the top of the qualifying order. In his second run he repeated the feat, showcasing his consistency, and setting another 98-point run. Piotr would head into the main competition after qualifying in 3rd position.
Meanwhile, in the paddock, the team worked on James’s S15 and made some tweaks to the engine map and nitrous oxide system, which resolved his earlier issue, however during Saturday’s practice his power steering system failed, causing him to sit out practice while it was replaced. Luck really wasn’t on James’s side this weekend!
Issues resolved, James’s Top 32 competitor Matt Coffman was unable to make the start line during their battle. James would be awarded a bye into the Top 16 to face former champion Chris Forsberg.
Piotr’s Top 32 battle against rookie Joao Barion would go Worthouse’s way, Piotr’s experience and consistency showing through against Barion for a relatively straight-forward victory.
In the Top 16, and with the earlier issues resolved from his Worthouse S15, James’s battle against Forsberg was shaping up to be an exciting one. However, an aggressive initiation by Forsberg into the first banked corner would swing the rear of the 370Z into James’s front wheel, punting him off line. Formula Drift rules stipulate that the chase car must give the lead car space to initiate, and James’s close proximity was ruled to be the cause of the fault. Forsberg would be awarded the victory.
Piotr’s top 16 battle would see him pitted against another former champion – Michael Essa. During Pitor’s lead run, Essa would chase with close proximity on the bank, however during the first transition he would catch the rear end of Piotr’s S15, sending Essa into a spin and handing Piotr a strong advantage. In Piotr’s chase run, Essa would initiate too aggressively, make contact with the wall and gift Piotr the win.
Next up for the remaining Worthouse driver would be a fast-paced Chelsea DeNofa in his RTR Ford Mustang. After their first pair of runs Piotr would give as good as he got, matching DeNofa’s close-proximity chase run with one of his own, forcing a One More Time decision. In the reruns, unfortunately Piotr couldn’t match the speed of the big Mustang around the bank, and with judges looking for any small discrepancy that would be enough to end Piotr’s event.
Orlando provided a mixed bag of results for the Worthouse Drift Team, however it’s early in the year and all still to play for. Going into round three at Road Atlanta, Georgia, Piotr sits in fourth position in the Pro championship, with James positioned in 11th place. The team now has a week to get both cars back into shape, and back into the fight for Worthouse’s third consecutive Pro title!