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James Deane Wins Formula Drift Seattle

Just as baseball came out of its all-star break in the third week of July, Formula Drift emerged from its summer break doldrums on July 21. The chase for the championship hit Seattle, Washington for Round Five: Autozone Throwdown. With a scant 39 points separating the top three competitors, there was still everything to race for as unsuspecting tires braced for shredding in the Pacific Northwest.

Before the first burnout, Formula Drift announced it had signed a new three-year deal with the operators of Evergreen Speedway so you can get your drift groove on in Monroe until 2021. After a day of battles, the 30-car field was whittled down to the Final 4 of James Deane and Piotr Wiecek from the Worthouse Team, Ryan Tuerck, and Justin Pawlak.

Deane’s route to the top step of the podium saw him meet Kyle Mohan (USA) in the KMR / American Ethanol / Mazdatrix 2016 Mazda MX-5 in the Top 32, and then Kenshiro Gushi (Japan) in his GPP Toyota Racing / Falken Tire Toyota 86 in the Top 16.

Event winner James Deane (left) dispatched Matt Field in the Great 8 round.

For the Great 8, Deane would encounter Matt Field (USA) in the Wish / Borla / Falken Tire Chevrolet Corvette. Field was lucky to reach this stage after a collision with 2015 series champion Fredric Aasbo in the Top 16. Driving the Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla, Aasbo had slowed into one of the clipping zones, causing Field to make contact. This put Aasbo down on points, which he was unable to overcome on the second run. Field would fall to Deane in the Great 8, and the 2017 series champion faced his teammate, Piotr Wiecek, in the Final 4. With two on-form drivers in identical cars, the competition was nail-bitingly close but the decision went to Deane.

The Irishman moved onto the final against Tuerck and again both drivers were almost inseparable. With the crowd calling for “One More Time” the judges narrowly ruled in favor of Deane, who would climb to the top step of the podium and extend his lead over Aasbo in the 2018 Formula Drift standings by 85 points.

“This win was no easy task,” said a typically understated James Deane after the podium celebrations. “There were some incredibly close battles this weekend. Everybody was fighting extremely hard but we had some luck with our toughest opponents making small mistakes. This helped us to the win but I kept it consistent, and it’s a great feeling to be increasing my advantage in the championship. The pressure is on us to continue the progress but it’s all good.”

Formula Drift Throwdown runner-up Ryan Tuerck and his Gumout / Nexen Tire Toyota GT86

Ryan Tuerck was delighted with his second place after an extended absence from the podium. “It feels like a long time since I was last here so we’re all very excited. This really boosts morale and confidence after the team worked so hard during the break to resolve all the small problems we had with the car. We got the car dialed-in early this weekend and I just tried to be consistent. The only mistakes I made were against James (Deane), which I’m really bummed about because he doesn’t leave any room for error. So we’re happy with the podium and looking forward to St. Louis.”

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