Defending champion of the Valvoline D1NZ National Drifting Championship, Liam Burke, has claimed his first round win of 2021 — edging pole-sitter Darren Kelly in the final at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon.
Having qualified fourth, Burke gained a free run into the top 16 to battle against Daynom Templeman. Eventually he fought his way through a final against round one winner Andrew Redward, with Kelly to battle round one finalist Ben Jenkins for third place.
What followed were a physical pair of final battles — the judges siding with Burke 3–0 over Redward for their unanimous decision, with Kelly beating Ben Jenkins to the final podium spot.
Among the event’s early casualties was Zak Pole. The much awaited return of the former series regular and his Goodride was cut short by reported mechanical issues during practice.
Burke’s victory helps make up for a tardy opening round at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland; vaulting him from 11th in the championship to third. Redward’s podium sees his title lead extend, with Ben Jenkins splitting the pair. ‘Fanga Dan’ Woolhouse and Kelly complete the top five.
In the feeder Pro-Sport Series, meanwhile, Shaun Potroz emerged on top for the second round in a row — beating Tully Puckey in a ‘one-more-time’ repeat face-off to extend his title lead. Jordan Joyce was third.
The series now heads to Christchurch for rounds three and four, which will be held back-to-back on March 26 and March 27, respectively.