Sunday, Sep 24 07:40pm
AUTHOR: Matthew Hansen

Mad Mike breaks Formula Drift drought with dominant victory

New Zealand's 'Mad Mike' Whiddett has broken through to win round four of the Formula Drift Japan series at Okuibuki Motor Park. It's his second FD Japan round win, after claiming top honours at Ebisu last year while also drifing his 'JAPBUL' Mazda RX-7. 


The day started dramatically for Whiddett, after he got sucked into a crash in his opening battle with Taichi Hisano. The Japanese driver ran wide into the opening corner, then clipped the wall with the rear of his car. With nowhere to go Whiddett hit him hard, but luckily the bulk of the damage was cosmetic. 


The Kiwi bounced back to beat Takashi Hinome (top 16) and Sheng Nian (top eight) to make it into the top four battlers; rounded out by talented youngster Koujiro Mekuwa, Nissan Silvia S14 driver Takatoshi Imamaeda, and Toyota Supra pilot Yoshichika Tamagawa. 


Whiddett then became the first driver to make it into the finals after downing Tamagawa. Whiddett had made a mistake in his chase run, dropping possession to his rival. However, this mistake was countered by a straight-line hesitation during Tamagawa's chase. 


His rival in the final was to be Mekuwa, who had impressed everyone throughout the day with his determined performances in a very 'street' looking Nissan Silvia S15.


Whiddett led first, and layed down a confident run underlined by a healthy gap through the final complex to the end of the course. And then in his chase Whiddett was able to place his Mazda all over the rear of Mekuwa's Silvia. 


Sure enough, the judges sided with Whiddett several minutes later when the round winner was revealed. The win plunges Whiddett back into the title fight, with several championship contenders (including reigning champion Andrew Gray) striking trouble early. 


Photo: Red Bull