In the final battle during Round 5 of the 2018 Formula Drift season, held at Evergreen Speedway in Washington, James Deane was given the win against Ryan Tuerck which extended his lead over Aasbo for the season championship by 85 points.
Deane’s route to the finish saw him battle Kyle Mohan in the Mazdatrix 2016 Mazda MX-5 in the Top 32, then Kenshiro Gushi in his GPP Toyota Racing / Falken Tire Toyota 86 in the Top 16.
In the Great 8, Deane encountered Matt Field in the Falken Tire Chevrolet Corvette. Field was lucky to reach this stage after a collision with 2015 FD 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 fell to Deane in the Great 8, and the 2017 FD Champion faced his teammate, Piotr Wiecek, in the Final 4.
Local to the region, Matt Coffman in a Nissan 240SX S13 took on 2009, 2014 and 2016 FD Champion Chris Forsberg in his NOS Energy Drink Nissan 370Z. Forsberg had momentum following his win in Orlando and a podium in Atlanta; however he encountered problems with a loss of power during the run which caused Coffman to collide with Forsberg on the bank during the first run.
Both drivers took a five-minute technical timeout to make repairs, but a repeat of the problem in the second run handed Coffman the win.
Heading into the Top 16, Coffman faced off against Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis in the Falken Tires Nissan S14. Odi has had consistent runs all season and a fourth-place finish in New Jersey, however, Coffman overcame him to advance again.
Justin Pawlak put a stop to Coffman in the Great 8 in his Roush Performance / Falken Tires 2018 Ford Mustang but was unable to beat Tuerck in the Final 4 which secured Pawlak a fourth overall finish.
“This win was no easy task,” said Deane. “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.”
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.”