For our thrilling 5th round of the MSUK Drift Pro Championship, we ventured to Oulton Park Circuit, nestled in Cheshire, which was set to host the ever popular TunerFest North Show. Unfazed by the weather forecast, our drivers were primed to unleash their talents and entertain, come rain or shine!
As heavy downpours began shortly after the drivers’ briefing, the drivers swiftly took to the circuit, eager to capitalize on the practice session. Oulton Park’s layout is a challenging fusion of high-speed sweepers and intricate technical turns.
The run begins at the top of Dentons corner, as drivers flick their cars into the long downhill sweeping Cascades corner. Here the cars pick up a ton of speed and the line is critical to linking into the next corner, and staying on track!
Just to add even more of a technical challenge they have to carry that slide down the straight while scrubbing a ton of speed iinto Fosters corner. While tough it’s also a great opportunity to throw the car in hard and go for a big angle attack.
But go to fast and you’ll very easily run wide over the curbing or off the circuit.
Once they’ve tackled Fosters they then have to make their way through a series of switchbacks through Hislops and Knickerbrook corners and past the finishing point.
As the weather oscillated between downpours and dry spells, the track’s variable surface demanded finesse, rendering the course immensely tricky for consistent runs. Despite this the drivers were doing a great job of tackling it!
Before the qualifying rounds, a visit to the Hyper Paddock was in order.
As always the Hyper Paddock was a bustling hub with fans braving the rain to catch a glimpse of the cars and engage with the drivers.
Onto qualifying and with the track starting to dry up finally the drivers could start to push harder.
Lwi Edwards was on top form showing great technical skill in the face of the inconsistent track conditions, an 86.00 point run put him firmly ontop of the qualification leaderboard in 1st place!
No stranger to wet weather driving, fellow Welshman Oliver Evans piloting the BC Racing S15 clinched an impressive 2nd place with 85.33 points.
Newcomer Ryan Hughues once again proved he means business with a 84.33 run securing 3rd place.
An honourable mention has to go to Haydn Cruickshank with his 4th place qualification. Haydn tamed the 1000+ BHP Colour Sound Experiment JZX100 and pulled off an 82.67 point run.
Here’s the full qualification list for Round 5! With a few last minute drop-outs two drivers would have to run bye-runs.
First of which would be Lwi Edwards in the Bilstein E36. With no other car to worry about Lwi hit the circuit at maximum attack showing great confidence in the layout, setting a high bar for anyone challenging him in the Top 8.
Josh King, behind the wheel of the Fifth Gear Transport E36, faced off against Paul Beechey in the Peacock Performance S15.. Paul’s rowdy dirt drop entry showcased was impressive but unsettled the car enough for him to straighten during the second corner transition. Josh maintained impressive proximity during the chase, and his dominant lead run established a significant gap, securing him the win.
Haydyn Cruickshank went up next against Nathan Chivers in the Liqui-Moly S15 a slightly messy chase run from Haydn gave Nathan the advantage moving him onto the Top 8.
The battle arena shifted to Dave Bastin in the Kent Models AE86 as he squared off against the returning contender, Michael Bennet, in hthe Sandhaven E46. Michael’s journey back to the championship was fraught with misfortune, as reliability gremlins forced an early curtain call on his day, before he could even lead a charge. Meanwhile, Dave masterfully steered his way into the Top 8.
Oliver Evans in the BC Racing S15 was let loose for a another bye-run, making full use of the track limits and giving the photographers some extra lens cleaning to do!
Andy Frost in the Tegiwa / Coilovers.co.uk S14 battled against Harry Love in the HL Drifting S14. Andy was putting a strong lead run in with a big entry into the 3rd corner but slightly off line causing him run over the inner apex and straighten aggressively. With this big advantage Harry was able to take the win with a safe lead run.
Ryan Hughes in the DY Engines GT86 was due to battle with Matthew Roberts, Fate, however, intervened as Matthew’s earlier gravel escapade led to concerns about his car’s well-being. Eager to preserve his ride for the future, Matthew conceded victory to Ryan, who rewarded the crowd with a scorching circuit lap, enveloped in a cloud of tire smoke.
Some of the most aggressive driving of the day went to Ian Philips in the Tegiwa / Allow Wheel Shop 350 and Richie Gilbey in the Richie Gilbey Motorsport S13. Eager to make up extra points both drivers pushed hard in their battles. Their dueling engines echoed through the air as they smoked out the track. Richie’s wide excursion off-track during his chase run turned the tide in favor of Ian, earning him a well-deserved victory.
Here’s how the line-up looked as we went into the Top 8!
The stage was set for a clash of E36 titans, with Lwi Edwards and Josh King primed for a showdown. But destiny took a quirky twist as one of Josh’s differential bolts broke, leaving his car stranded at the starting line. Lady Luck, it seemed, had joined Lwi’s cheering squad, moving him into the Top 4.
Up next was Nathan Chivers vs Dave Bastin. Dave’s little AE86 pulled a big gap on the chase run against Nathan’s powerful S15. On the following run Nathan’s straightening into the fourth corner tilted the scales in Dave’s favor, securing his place in the Top 4.
The pressure was on for Harry Love as he went up against current reigning champion Ollie Evans. Harry put in a strong effort but couldn’t escape Ollie’s S15 charging down his door. Ollie takes the win!
The final battle of the Top 8 came down to Ryan Hughues and Ian Phillips. It was great to see the track filling up with smoke as both drivers put the hammer down to a soundtrack of turbo straight six and screaming V8. Despite Ian’s extra aggression the judges gave the win to Ryan for his tenacious chase and commanding lead.
And so, the stage was set for the climactic finals!
As the rain started to pour leading into the finals the drivers would have to make a big adjustment to their driving style as grip levels changed drastically in the wet. Kicking things off was the battle between Lwi Edwards and Dave Bastin. With his eyes set on his second podium of the season Dave would have to have to pull out all the stops to take down Lwi. Dave put it on the line with a big entry behind Lwi into the second corner but pushed a little too far almost clipping the E36, with Dave having to straighten out the advantage went to Lwi. With positions switched Dave put in a clean lead run but was unable to shake Lwi off his door. The win went to Lwi Edwards, moving him onto the final!
The rain-soaked track provided the backdrop for an epic tango between Oliver Evans and Ryan Hughes. Ollie’s skills in the rain allowed him to keep pace with Ryan, a skillful display that culminated in a large gap during his lead run, propelling Ollie to a well-deserved win.
As the day’s final battles loomed, the spotlight turned to Dave Bastin and Ryan Hughes. The judges were presented with a difficult call as both drivers showcased excellentl runs, leaving the verdict suspended until the podium announcement.
With the rain coming down even harder, the ultimate showdown between Ollie Evans and Lwi Edwards was ready to play out. A door-to-door extravaganza unfolded, each corner a display precision and control.
With dedicated fans and friends and family of the drivers sticking out the rain the clouds started to clear as Drift Pro announcer Fraser Macaulay teased the announcement of Round 5s winners.
And without further ado, here are the results!
1st Place: Oliver Evans
2nd Place: Lwi Edwards
3rd Place: Dave Bastin
After all that rain, whats a little champagne?
With another great event in the bag we turn our sights to our next stop of the season – Donington Park! Another favourite with drivers it’s going to be one event you won’t want to miss this year. Tickets are available now via our website – https://www.driftpro.co.uk/tickets/
As always, a big thank you to our official event partners, staff, drivers and of course the fans. See you at the next one!