Piotr Wiecek emerged victorious from his battle with teammate James Deane during the seventh round of the 2018 Formula Drift season, held in Fort Worth, Texas on September 14-15.
Piotr’s path to the Final began against Kevin Lawrence (USA) in the Enjuku Racing / BC Racing Nissan S14.3. He then faced Matt Field (USA) in the Sweet 16 driving the Wish / Borla / Falken Tire Chevrolet Corvette.
Field had finished second at the previous round and was looking for another podium visit and push Wiecek hard. The judges requested “One More Time,” much to the delight of the enthusiastic crowd, who cheered on both drivers. The win was given to Wiecek, who needed to defeat 2010 FD Champion Vaughn Gittin Jr in the Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR to continue his advance.
With Gittin Jr experience something of a points drought recently, he fought hard but Wiecek was unstoppable.
In the Final Four, the Pole faced Chelsea Denofa (USA) in the BC Racing / Nitto Tire / Ford Performance Mustang RTR. He had given the RTR team a much-needed taste of champagne with a third place in St Louis but also failed to halt Wiecek.
The Worthouse teammates lined up alongside each other for the Final. Expectations were high for a fantastic battle and the first run proved just how close it was going to be. However, Deane’s Nissan S14 shut down in the first corner of the second run and gifted the win to Wiecek.
With a bye round in the Top 32, Deane had met and narrowly beat Kenshiro Gushi (Japan) in the GPP Toyota Racing / Falken Tire Toyota 86 in the Sweet 16. He’d then face Daijiro Yoshihara (Japan) in the Turn 14 Distribution / Falken Tire Subaru BRZ in the Great 8.
Dai had previously competed against Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis (Lithuania) in the Falken Tires / Maxxoil / Drifz Wheels Nissan S14 in the Sweet 16. The pair were inseparable, resulting in the judges requesting “One More Time.” The win went to Yoshihara, but he subsequently fell to Deane, who faced his arch-rival, Fredric Aasbo, in the Final Four.
This would be another epic battle as both drivers sought to strengthen their position before the Final round at Irwindale. Despite two very close runs, the judges gave the decision to Deane, who would face Wiecek in the Final.
With Wiecek taking maximum points from FD Texas, he closes on Aasbo, who finished third on the night. Second place Deane retained his lead in the 2018 championship but fans are guaranteed a nail-biter at the Final round at Irwindale Speedway, CA in four weeks.
“This was an awesome event and a very intense weekend for me,” said Wiecek. “Practice didn’t go as well as I’d hoped and I was unsure if we’d be competitive but we managed to get through each of the heats to meet James in the Final. That was an amazing experience for all of us. It’s unbelievable to be in first place – a dream come true.”
Second placed Deane was gracious in defeat, as always. “It’s amazing to be on the podium with Piotr and get a great result for the team. Fredric was third so the championship is really close heading into the final round at Irwindale and makes it a really exciting prospect. So we’ve got a few weeks to get the cars prepped and come back strong.”
Third place Aasbo said: “We’re very happy with third place because we haven’t been able to figure out this track in the past and I feel like this was our best Texas round ever. This being Toyota Racing’s home town and it being an important weekend for the championship, we’re delighted to be standing on the podium and to be in the hunt. And even with the Worthouse boys showing us there’s a next level of drifting, we’re feeling very positive heading into the season finale.”
Aasbo’s podium helped Toyota clinch the 2018 Formula Drift Auto Cup. With one round remaining, Toyota has amassed enough points to take the manufacturer’s title, and do so at its home event. However, the fight for the Pro and Pro 2 drivers titles and the Tire Cup will be decided at the final round at Irwindale Speedway.
“This was an action-packed weekend. It was incredibly competitive in both classes and we’re delighted to see both driver’s championships going down to the wire as well as the Tire Cup,” said Formula Drift president, Jim Liaw. He added, “it’s all leading to a really exciting Final at Irwindale Speedway and we’re looking forward to another successful season finale at the House of Drift.”
The Final round of the 2018 Formula Drift Black Magic Pro Championship and the Formula Drift Link ECU Pro 2 Championship takes place in Irwindale, California on October 12-13.