D1NZ’s first round post the coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown went against the norm of high grip asphalt and turned to the indoors with the inaugural ‘Gauntlet’ event at ASB Showgrounds, a venue Pro-Sport ace Scott Dinsdale would like to see return.
The national drifting scene fell victim of the COVID-19 pandemic with the postponement then cancellation of its original final two rounds set to be held from Pukekohe Park and Hampton Downs.
But as the pandemic began to abate, D1NZ organisers revealed a revised penultimate round will be staged across three showrooms in a series first at Auckland’s premier exhibition centre.
The round saw several giant-toppling performances as drivers gingerly massaged themselves around the slippery concrete surface.
Russell Vare would be crowned victor in the Kaspa Transmissions Pro-Sport class while Liam Burke finally claimed his maiden round win in the Pro Championship.
Dinsdale, who was eliminated in the Final 8 portion of the Pro-Sport event, says the even playing field and affordability of the round made the circuit a hit and would be a welcome addition to any future calendar.
“I found the track layout was, in my opinion, the best use of space,” said Dinsdale. “There was very minimal grip on the track which evened the playing field when it came to battles.
“With low grip it did mean you had to be very cautious on the loud pedal and be careful to not drive with too much angle, as it was a lot easier to over-rotate, I really enjoyed the touch and go wall clips too, something that is rare to have in D1NZ.”
Perhaps the largest concern for any event organisers in preparation for a sporting spectacle straight out of lockdown is whether competitors would be a strong enough of a financial position to see competing as feasible.
But Dinsdale admits the concrete surface meant drivers could run the event on one set of tyres and its central location worked into favour of several teams, keeping costs to a minimum.
“We didn’t even use one set of tyres which is awesome if you are interested in trying the competitive side of drifting as it keeps the cost down,” added Dinsdale. “I’d love to do the event again. You definitely had to be into drifting to attend as it was very loud.
“The only thing that would have benefited for viewers would have been if they had a bigger tv/projector for each viewing room to see both sides of the track, and drivers would have preferred a bit more practice.
“Other than that, hats off to the D1NZ team for an amazing event, and congrats to all the rounds winners. Bring on Pukekohe!”
Dinsdale sits fourth in the Pro-Sport division standings which is currently headed by recent round winner Vare.
Taylor James maintains his advantage at the top of the Pro Championship standings, holding a slender lead over Burke as the D1NZ grid prepares for its season-finale from Pukekohe Park at the end of the month.
Main Image: Conor Murie