So the pit walk was over and it was time for battles. To get a good spot for viewing we rushed back to find we had to sit separately half in the isles as the regulars know to reserve a spot with a blanket or cushions. D1 really is that big in Japan, especially in the warmer months.
The first battle was Max Orido in his Supra and Tsutoshi Tezuka in the Goodyear 32, the screen introduced both drivers and counted down from three, in English. Everyone focused on the screen while the drivers build speed on the 300m run up. It was my first official D1 event, I’d seen D1 demos at Street Legal events but this was another level. At 150+km/hr Tezuka was about ten meters behind, momentarily anyway. The gap was closed from meters, down into negative space if that possible… This is D1, its possible.
Notice the angle of the wing? Obviously planning to close in he gave an extra boot of speed and initiated drift so suddenly that he was literally going in rear wheels first. Remember the clip of Kawabata Masato that went viral within drifting communities? It happened here and has been the bench mark world wide since. Half the field were ninety or more in qualifying but battles are meant to be more conservative and consistent… if you want to go home early.
The contact was enough to remove the wing from its stand and collapse the presumably gutted door, the Supra obviously moved when the impact happened but didn’t stop either driver continuing an amazing run.
Plenty of talent was shown throughout the battles. Overtaking mid transition, and soft contact was winning points but then there were plenty of times the judges had some thinking to do before giving scores.
From what I can tell, one wheel dirt drops are ok. In qualifying entrys were extended by hanging one wheel over the edge of the track without effecting scores. During battle there were regular excursions past the bitumen, then there were beach trips.
High speed means less stability for most setups, and if you weren’t at the pace points would be lost so like the first battle of the day every driver was at 110%. I wont go battle by battle, plenty of websites had recounts already. What you will see is when the limits are met, its not to show how they made mistakes. More to show the commitment to having your car on the edge at such high speeds.
Takanori’s S13 fell victim eventually leaving without a body kit. Nakamura was lucky that his opponent made mistakes to match an off that removed his front bar, he made the most of his second chance by showing the judges his signature proximity.
But then had a repeat later which destroyed the rear bar. Like most things in Japan D-Max had the forward thought to expect a bar would come off, A few web addresses on the body work under the fibreglass kept things looking semi neat.
Thanks for reading. I’m prepping some low down posts, it’s time for the good stuff.