Saturday, Jan 13 10:26pm
AUTHOR: Matthew Hansen

Aussie drifter Matty Hill claims maiden D1NZ victory in Wellington

Australian drifter Matty Hill has claimed his maiden victory in the Link ECU D1NZ National Drifting Championship, after a dramatic final few battles. It's the 4.mance Automotive driver's first win after three seasons of competition in New Zealand. 


Having scored pole position, Hill's first round was a bye. He then defeated Stuart Baker and defending series champion Cole Armstrong to make it into the top four. 


Hill (Nissan Silvia S15), South Africa's George Myburgh (Nissan Silvia S14), and D1NZ veterans Dave Steedman (Nissan Silvia S14) and Daynom Templeman (BMW M3) were the eventual top four runners; the former two internationals pairing off in the first of the semi finals, while the latter two duels in the second semi final.


Myburgh's run to the top four was particularly impressive, having included winning battles against former D1NZ champions Gaz Whiter and 'Fanga Dan' Woolhouse, who debuted his left-hand drive 2017 Ford Mustang.


The top our became a top two after Hill outlasted Myburgh and Steedman beat Templeman. Hill had a good lead run, but became the recipient of the finals berth after a crash in his chase run that saw both cars hit the wall — prompting delays. 


Incident also decided the victor of the second semi-final battle. Templeman showed plenty of aggression in his chase until making a mistake on the run back to the start line. Briefly losing the drift was enough for judges to favour Steedman, even though Templeman's lead run was packed with angle. 


Hill approached the finale with a wounded car. It no longer had power steering; a subsequence of the crash with Mybugh in their top-four battle. 


But against the odds, Hill laid down a very convincing lead run. After building a healthy gap, Steedman became lost in Hill's smoke. And as the pair rounded the oval to close their first pass Steedman gave the wall a significant touch — enough to tip the front of the car into the wall as well and end his chase run prematurely.


Steedman promptly took his five-minute break to mend the Mimico Nissan, with Hill donating his five minute break to give his rival more time to repair his car. But Steedman and his Mimico Nissan couldn't be repaired in time to make a final appearance.


This sealed a convincing win for Hill, which also ensures that he leads the series standings after round one. Round two of the series will take place at ASB Baypark Arena in Tauranga, on February 16–17.