It's Round 4 of the Formula DRIFT Championship Series, and the rolling smokeshow has returned to Wall Speedway in New Jersey. This round, dubbed "The Gauntlet", proved to be a nail biter that lived up to it's name, ending in spectacular fashion with a DNS, a debeaded tire, and a blown engine. When the smoked cleared, it was Aurimas "Odi" Bakchis is his Vortech V-7 YSi Supercharged Team Falken S14 standing tall atop the podium.
“As we hit the half way point of the season, there’s still plenty of action left,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “These are the best drifters from around the world and the championship is still up for grabs.”
Fellow Vortech V-7 YSi Supercharged Team Falken Driver Matt Field has had some rough luck the last couple of Formula Drift events, and New Jersey was not to be the exception. As Matt was coming off the bank on his lead lap against Jeff Jones in Top 32 competition, his driver's side rear tire debeaded, effectively ending his weekend. Matt has several previous wins under his belt, and it is only a matter of time before we see him on the podium once more.
Both Matt Coffman and Odi Bakchis were charging through the competition when they met in the Final 4. When it was time to go at it, the Coffman Racing team called for a 5 minute repair period, but unfortunately could not get the car functional in time to make the starting line, giving Bakchis the round.
In the finals, it was Bakchis vs. Michael Essa. The first lap saw Essa leading, and was a very aggressive lap from both drivers. On Odi's lead lap, the action continued until Essa suffered a debeaded tire, and Odi's engine gave out just as he was able to cross the finish line for the win.
After his win, Odi said “I feel amazing. It was a very hard battle for us the whole weekend. We had lots of challenges, but my crew pulled it together and allowed me to drive like an animal and kept my car somewhat together just enough as it literally blew up right at the finish line. The timing couldn’t have been better and I couldn’t be happier.”
Look for Odi Bakchis, Matt Field, and lots more Vortech Supercharged drift action up in the Great White North of Montreal, Canada next month!
Photo credit and thanks to 9NINE2 and Formula Drift.