For Round 6 of the MSUK Drift Pro Championship, we made our way back to one of the most beloved circuits on the calendar for our drivers – Donington Park. Alongside the finale of the TunerFest shows, this round held strong significance as crucial championship points hung in the balance, potentially shaping the course of championship dreams for several drivers. The unique drift course layout, designed to promote tight and intimate driving, promised spectacular battles, and without a doubt, those expectations were not only met but exceeded!
Utilising the GP circuit layout of Donington we are able to create a thrilling layout that comes back on itself ensuring space for plenty of speed but tight and technical enough that drivers can really push each other and stay close.
Practice started off with a bang, as every driver pushed themselves to the limit while getting a feel for the layout.
In the latter half of the practice session, cars are sent out in pairs, allowing drivers to hone their tandem skills and gauge the abilities of potential opponents. There were moments when the practice itself seemed like a full-fledged competition!
Following a short break to cool off, inspect the cars, and mount fresh Zestino tires, it was time to kick off the qualifying rounds!
The aggression and skill displayed during practice seamlessly transitioned into the qualifying rounds, with the leaderboard reflecting some truly remarkable scores.
The highlight of the session was unquestionably the astounding performance by Ollie Evans in the BC Racing S15, who secured a perfect 100-point run from the judges, marking a historic first in Drift Pro history!
Lwi Edwards in the Bilstein E36 secured second place with a superb 95.00 point run. A testament to the unwavering consistency and skills he has displayed throughout the entire season. This round presented his opportunity to knock Driftworks driver Martin Richards from the championship’s top spot, and he was determined not to let this chance slip through his fingers.
Turning the spotlight to Martin Richards, he faced mounting pressure to retain his championship lead after being unable to attend the previous round. Martin delivered an impressive 95.00 point run in the Driftworks R32, earning him a solid third-place qualification. Clearly, he was determined to fiercely defend his championship lead and not give it up without a fight!
Nathan Chivvers achieved his best qualification of the season, earning an impressive 91 point run that secured him 4th place! The question on the judges mind: could he replicate this performance in the battles and gain those much-needed championship points?
It was fantastic to see Paul Cunnington’s return to the track after missing the last two rounds due to an engine failure. He was back in action, roaring down the track in the Octaneologists S15, powered by a fresh 2JZ motor!
As we prepared for our first set of battles, let’s take a look at how the qualification leaderboard shaped up.
Before we knew it, it was time to return to the always bustling Hyper Paddock to announce the lineup for the Top 16!
Here’s how the Top 16 bracket stacked up as we head into our first set of battles.
Kicking the party off was Oliver Evans in the BC Racing S15 vs Jonathan Smith in the IA Motorsport MX-5. This marked Jonathan’s second appearance in the Top 16, and facing off against the reigning champion, Oliver, was certainly no small challenge. With continuous improvements made to his car setup between rounds, Jonathan put up a commendable fight against Ollie. However, he couldn’t quite match the proximity Ollie displayed during his chase run. Ultimately, the victory belonged to Ollie, who even admitted his surprise at the impressive speed of Jonathan’s LS2-powered MX5!
A rowdy battle between Richie Gilbey’s S13 vs Andy Frost in the Tegiwa / Coilovers.co.uk S14. A close battle to call with both drivers putting strong lead and chase runs in but Richie had the edge in the judges eyes. Richie Gilbey moves onto the Top 8!
Following an awesome qualification run, Nathan Chivers, in the Liqui-Moly S15, was paired against George Barclay in the WFS Motorsport 2 Series BMW. Unfortunately, Nathan faced a major setback as he spun out while chasing George’s BMW around the first corner. This put Nathan at a significant disadvantage. All George needed to do was maintain a smooth and consistent chase run to secure the victory, and he executed this strategy flawlessly.
Josh King in the Fifth Gear Tranport E36 faced off against Haydn Cruickshank in the Colour Sound Experiment JZX100 Chaser. A shaky chase run from Haydn while Josh was able to keep close on the following run gave Josh the advantage moving him onto the Top 8.
Lwi Edwards, behind the wheel of the Bilstein E36, faced off against Paul Beechey in the Peacock Performance S15. Paul seemed to be having a challenging day, struggling to adapt to the circuit and get into the rhythm with his car. Despite his efforts, he couldn’t shake off Lwi from his rear quarter. Lwi took the win and advanced to the Top 8.
Up for the 6th battle of the day was Axel Hildebrand in the Sonax S14 vs Harry Love in the HL_Drifting S14. A good matchup but Harry wavered under pressure when leading with an aggressive straighten before transitioning into the second corner. The advantage went to Axel as he moved onto the Top 8.
Chaos ensued as Dave Bastin in the Kent Models AE86 and Martin Richards in the Driftworks R32 hit the track. Both drivers undressing their cars body panels throughout the runs, with Dave running off into the dirt and knocking bumpers off the judges gave the win to Martin – An exciting battle to say the least!
Up next was a fierce showdown between Ryan Hughes in the DY Engines GT86 and Paul Cunnington in the Octaneologists S15. Eager to compensate for his earlier absence, Paul put in an incredible chase run, staying glued to Ryan’s GT86 throughout. While Ryan delivered a smooth chase run, he couldn’t match Paul’s proximity. The judges decision went to Paul, propelling him into the Top 8.
Next up, the Top 8!
Oliver Evans faced off against Richie Gilbey in the first battle of the Top 8. Ollie lead the first battle, pulling a good distance between the two cars even in the face of the impressive grip and speed of Richie’s S13. When the roles were switched and Richie took the lead, the pressure was on for him to create distance. However, Ollie was determined not to allow that, maintaining close proximity throughout the run. With this great performance, Ollie secured his spot in the Top 4!
George Barclay vs Josh King. George showcased his increasing comfort with his new build. However, it Josh managed to outshine him with a combination of greater angle and proximity during the chase run. Despite George’s growing confidence, Josh’s strong performance secured him the advantage in this battle moving him onto the Top 4.
Axel Hildebrand taking on Lwi Edwards. Axel had been driving consistently throughout the day but a combo of a substantial spin on the first corner during his chase run and a significant straightening on the same corner during his lead brought his day to a disappointing end. Meanwhile, Lwi powered through to secure his spot in the Top 4, keeping his sights fixed on those crucial championship points.
A clash between Paul Cunnington and Martin Richards on the track never fails to ignite excitement. Both drivers delivered exceptional runs, yet Martin managed to gain the upper hand with his heightened aggression and close proximity to Paul’s S15 during his chase run.
In the showdown between Ollie Evans and Josh King, it was clear that Josh had found his groove, showcasing an impressive blend of skill and speed right from the start. The judges faced a challenging decision, as both drivers delivered similar runs. However, Ollie managed to secure the advantage by maintaining a closer gap during his chase run, ultimately tipping the scales in his favor.
An important battle for both drivers as Martin tried to hold onto his championship lead against Lwi Edwards. With panels flying and smoke in the air. Lwi managing to stick to the R32 front wheels inches from his door Martin’s trunk flying off into the first corner.
The fight for third place unfolded as Josh King faced off against Martin Richards. A moment of contact occurred between Josh’s and Martin’s cars, adding a touch of intensity to the already close run. The judges were presented with a challenging decision, given the stakes of crucial championship points hanging in the balance. Both Josh and Martin were deeply invested in securing the victory. We’d have to wait till the podium announcement to find out who secured third place on the podium!
The climactic battle of the day was at hand, and when Ollie and Lwi share the track, you can always expect fireworks. Ollie took the lead, displaying a powerful line and impressive speed, while Lwi kept remarkably close right from the first corner. When it was Lwi’s turn to lead, Ollie made a valiant effort to stay in proximity but ended up running wide in his pursuit, with both cars briefly venturing into the dirt on that initial corner. However, Ollie managed to regain position right on Lwi’s door, leaving everyone in suspense as to whether it would be enough to claim the advantage.
The judges had a substantial amount of deliberation ahead as they needed to thoroughly assess both the battle for third place and the finals. While drivers and fans anxiously awaited the decision, it was time for everyone to return to the hyper paddock, where the podium announcement awaited.
MC Fraser rallied the fans, bringing them together in anticipation of the announcement.
And without further ado here are the winners from Round 6 of MSUK Drift Pro Championship…
Here are your MSUK Drift Pro Round 6 winners!
1st Place: Lwi Edwards
2nd Place: Ollie Evans
2rd Place: Martin Richards
With this victory under his belt Lwi Edwards takes the top spot on the championship leaderboard. With just two rounds of the season left does he have what it takes to hold the position or will Martin Richards claw it back in time! Click here to check out the current leaderboard standings – https://www.driftpro.co.uk/2023-standings/
As always a huge thank you to our official event partners, competitors, MSV staff, MSUK Drift Pro team and of course all the fans who support our drivers at each round!
We’ll be back for Round 7 of the championship with our return to Brands Hatch for the amazing Go Japan show. To find out more and to get your tickets click here – https://www.driftpro.co.uk/tickets/