Tuesday, May 15 12:38pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Dominant Liam Burke crowned D1NZ Pro-Sport Series champion

Liam Burke has convincingly taken out the D1NZ Pro-Sport Series title, winning by an insurmountable 82 points.
The Whangarei drifter only ever finished off the podium once this season. Three second place finishes and a win at the sole South Island round in Timaru cemented him as one of the most successful Pro-Sport Series competitors in D1NZ history.
Burke unfortunately couldn’t cap off the season with another podium at Pukekohe Park for the season’s end. He was annoyed by the mistake he made against Calvin Clarke to drop out of contention, but that didn’t take the shine off winning the title.
“To be honest, I was quite gutted,” Burke said.
“It was basically all me that ruined it, but getting the four podiums up until now is just crazy. It’s absolutely crazy.
“It’s just been an insane season. I’ve learnt something new every single round. I’ve learned something different about all the drivers and all the techniques and more.”
The final round was won by Jordy Cole who had been a championship contender up until the penultimate round at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon. A mechanical failure prevented him for qualifying and dropped him out of range to catch Burke.  
The final was punctuated by some of the toughest racing conditions seen all season, though not unfamiliar to those who’d competed at Pukekohe in years past.
Saturday’s qualifying saw the circuit well and truly wet. By Sunday the circuit began to dry out, but still proved to be a challenge with patches of the circuit damp and others drying.
“I couldn’t believe how slippery it was,” he said.
“I spun out four times. We were going nowhere and spinning out, I was shocked. I changed my driving style, adapted and I wasn’t too bad in the wet.
“Coming into the battles it was just a whole different ball game. The sweeper had virtually cleared up, it was super grippy and I was a bit disgusted because I was messy. It went from super slippery to half slippery and half grippy.”
Unfortunately Burke got caught out an ran wide out of turn three. Fortunately for him, main title rival Taylor James got knocked out early, which handed Burke the title.
Moving forward, Burke is weighing up his options for the 2019 season. A move to the Link ECU D1NZ National Drifting Championship Pro Series is on the cards, however, a Pro-Sport Series title defence has also been suggested.
“I have had a certain someone suggest maybe redefending the Pro-Sport title. However, I’m definitely keen on Pro.
“As I’ve said, it’s just getting that sponsorship backing and that’s up to me to find.”
Burke also proposed to his long-time partner Lasharn Datson during the podium presentation. She said yes. 

The 2019 Link ECU D1NZ National Drifting Championship dates will be revealed in the forthcoming months. For more information visit D1NZ.com.