On the 30th of September, 24 drivers from 14 countries participated in Leg 1 of the FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup.
The event began with the Solo Run, where each driver competed to earn as many points as possible. WANLI FAT FIVE RACING’s Daigo Saito achieved a top speed of 97.0 km/h in his Nissan GT-R, while many other drivers struggled to reach 90km/h. His high average speed and strong start earned him 100.42 points and first place during the Solo Run. The second placed driver was TOYO RACING GLION TRUST RACING’s Masato Kawabata, who earned a total score of 99.58 points in his Nissan GT-R, helped by a strong start and wide drifting angle. Team MAXXOIL Racing’s Charles NG brought third place and 98.96 points in his Nissan 180SX, through his stable driving and wide angle.
The event was followed by the Battle Run, where the top 16 drivers from the Solo Run competed in a tournament-style competition. The drivers who earned higher scores in the Solo Run ran in the first round. The remaining eight drivers participated in the second round, leaving two Japanese and two Russian drivers.
In the semi-finals, WANLI FAT FIVE RACING’s Daigo Saito (Nissan GT-R) competed against PRIMRING TEAM with TOYO TIRES’ Georgy Chivchyan (Nissan Silvia), and won with his stunning proximity to Chivchyan’s car. In the race between TOYO TIRES GLION TRUST RACING’s Masato Kawabata (Nissan GT-R) and PRIMRING TEAM with TOYO TIRES’ Arkady Tsaregratsev (Nissan Skyline), Kawabata was able to maintain a higher overall speed, earning him more points. The battle for third place between Chivchyan and Tsaregratsev, Traregratsev had the edge with his proximity to the leading car.
The final showdown was between Daigo Saito and Masato Kawabata. During the first run, Kawabata’s front end hit the back of Saito’s car while swerving back from a drift, interrupting Saito. However, neither car suffered any severe damage meaning the race was able to continue. After the second run, the scores were level, which meant a tie-breaker was necessary.
The first run of the tie-breaker, Kawabata controlled his machine perfectly, and earned a two point advantage over Saito. During the second run, Saito was able to close in on Kawabata, but had a smaller drifting angle, which left him with only a 1.5 point lead, meaning Kawabata was victorious.
FIA President Jean Todt awarded the cup to WANLI FAT FIVE RACING’s Daigo Saito, who earned first place in Leg 1 of the Solo Run, and to TOYO TIRES GLION TRUST RACING’s Masato Kawabata, who earned first place in the Battle Run.