Masato Kawabata, winner of the inaugural FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup in 2017, today confirmed his return to the event with the aim of winning back the title he lost last year.
Local hero Kawabata, a two time D1 Grand Prix Series Champion, qualified for the battle competition last year in a strong sixth place, before easily disposing of Taiwanese driver Feng Jen Chih in the last sixteen. Progressing through to the final eight, Kawabata was beaten in an upset by Yves Meyer with the Swiss driver eventually finishing second overall.
“I went into last year’s event on a high and perhaps that led me to underestimate my opposition. That, combined with the wet conditions, led me into a mistake during my chase run, and it was all over from there”, stated Kawabata, who drives a Toyota Supra for the Team Toyo Tires Drift squad.
“That being said, I have a new car for this year and my main goal for the season is win back the FIA title, and I would love to meet Gocha in the final as we would really put on a great show for the fans!”
In other news, the event will welcome its first ever driver from the Netherlands, with Bas Mul taking on the challenge.
The reigning Nurburgring Drift Cup and Dutch Drift league Champion from 2018, Mul will round out a busy 2019 season in Japan, having spent the year competing in the Irish Drift Games series alongside defending his Nurburgring Drift Cup title and taking on selected rounds of the Drift Masters European Championship.
The FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup was founded in 2017 as the first ever Drifting event to be run under FIA regulations and the 2017 and 2018 editions were held in the Odaiba district of Tokyo. The 2019 edition will be held at the famous Tsukuba Circuit from the 29th November to the 1st December and was won by Georgy “Gocha” Chivchyan.