A historic win has been claimed by Cole Armstrong in the Valvoline D1NZ National Drifting Championship season opener.
For the first time in the series’ history, D1NZ competed at the southernmost circuit in the South Island—Teretonga Park.
There were a handful of upsets in the Top 16 battle tree, firstly with top qualifier Carl Thompson. Driving his V8-powered Nissan Silvia S15, Thompson was knocked out in the first round by bottom qualifier Michael Thorley in his brand new Nissan 180SX.
A graduate of the Kaspa Transmission D1NZ Pro-Sport Series, Thorley was beaten by fellow Pro Series newcomer Taylor James (Nissan Silvia S14) who earlier made his way through to the Top 8 courtesy of beating Troy Jenkins (Toyota 86).
Elsewhere on the battle tree, ‘Fanga’ Dan Woolhouse (Ford Mustang) was beaten by Dave Steedman (Nissan Silvia S14) in the Top 16 who then went on to beat Bruce Tannock (Nissan Silvia S13) in the Top 8.
On the other side, 11th place qualifier Adam Davies (Nissan 180SX) defeated Daynom Templeman (BMW E46 M3) who had qualified sixth and then beat third-place qualifier Jesse Greenslade (Nissan Silvia S13) in the Top 8.
In the Top 4, Taylor James went on to battle Dave Steedma n while Cole Armstrong (Nissan Skyline R34) faced Adam Davies.
James had his storming Pro Series debut in the Top 4 ended by Steedman, then Armstrong defeated Davies to set up a Steedman versus Armstrong final
Initially, Steedman and Armstrong couldn’t be split in their final battle. As a result, a One-More-Time was called and the pair battled again. The second time around though, Armstrong was dominant. On the lead run, he edged away from Steedman and on the chase, he stuck close.
“That’s absolutely awesome man, I’m pumped,” Armstrong said after the win.
“I lost a bit of enthusiasm in the offseason building these cars, but this just brings it all back. I had to give it everything and I gave it my all.
“This is our second car, unicorn, it brings out magical things the horse does. I’m over the moon. I’m stoked for the team. We had a tough year last year but we’re back on top.”
Armstrong leads the series on 112 points with Steedman second on 86 points and James third with 72 points.
The Valvoline D1NZ National Drifting Championship moves to Pukekohe Park in Auckland over 7-8 February.