Although Diajiro Yoshihara is hardly a newcomer to the world of drifting, it was something of a surprise to see this series veteran take home the victory at Road Atlanta this past weekend given that he hadn’t won a Formula Drift event since 2007 and was driving a freshly built Discount Tire and Falken sponsored Nissan 240SX.
Making Dai’s win in Hotlanta even more impressive was his performance in the final pairing against current overall points leader Vaughn Gittin Jr. in his insanely powerful Ford Mustang GT.
The 2010 Formula Drift championship is shaping up to be the most competitive season yet, with Gittin and Yoshihara leading the standings, followed closely by three former series champions, Rhys Millen, Tanner Foust, and defending champ Chris Forsberg. The cream already appears to be rising to the top and the challenge ahead for Falken stablemates Gittin Jr. and Yoshihara is clearly a monumental one.
Still, drifting is an inherently unpredictable motorsport and with so many strong contenders among the top 32 drivers, it’s still anybody’s guess who will come out on top at season’s end. Conrad Grunewald finally finds himself in a competitive machine, the Atlanta crowd pleasing Hankook Tire sponsored Chevrolet Camaro, and after a strong weekend in the dirty south we expect to see him continue to rise through the ranks. Former champ Samuel Hubinette is also driving a new machine this year, the “love it or hate it” Dodge Challenger that seems to polarize drift fans just as strongly as his Dodge Viper and Charger did in previous years.
The quality of the drifting this season has been higher than ever too, exemplified by Tanner Foust’s amazing tail-first entry into a high speed lefthand turn at Road Atlanta, a track he’s always been among the fastest and most aggressive drivers at.
Check out the video after the jump.