The Heart of Racing’s Darren Kelly has secured his third Valvoline D1NZ National Drifting Championship Pro-series title win after claiming victory at the series finale at Trustpower Baypark in Tauranga.
It’s Kelly’s second ‘Drift King’ crown in three years with his Nissan R35 GT-R, with Baypark representing his second round win of the season.
“This has been a crazy year. To be able to come out here and do the one and the one, it’s been pretty special. Massive thanks to everybody this year, it’s been tough,” said Kelly.
Kelly came up against Team DSR’s Adam Davies. Davies’ initial chase run was marred by a big straight-line moment on the first initiation into the sweeping turn one. This meant he wouldn’t be able to run door-to-door with Kelly.
Kelly’s chase was much cleaner, seeing the GT-R ace sit right next to Davies’ rear quarter for the full run. A straight-line moment in the penultimate corner for Davies also didn’t help — making the job easy for the judges.
Taylor James completed the podium after winning his playoff battle with Troy Jenkins for third place. James had progressed to the top four by virtue of beating ‘Fanga Dan’ Woolhouse earlier in the night.
Woolhouse entered the weekend as one of three drivers parked on nearly equal points for the lead of the title. A spin in his chase run against James ultimately cost him a chance to beat Kelly. His subsequent lead run, with James chasing, was one of the most spectacular battles of the night.
Andrew Redward and Liam Burke were the other title contenders on the night, but each of them also had a rough showing. Burke lost his battle with Troy Jenkins, after he was judged to have been at fault for contact at the final corner.
The Pro-Sport feeder series also crowned a championship winner at the Baypark event; the title going to Shaun Potroz and his Nissan Silvia.