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COLE ARMSTRONG CROWNED 2016–'17 DEMON ENERGY D1NZ CHAMPION

  • Written by D1NZ Admin

It was the perfect end to the 2016–’17 Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship for Cole Armstrong, taking both the round victory and title win in emphatic style at South Auckland’s Pukekohe Park.

 

After seven years of trying, he defeated fellow series long stay Daynom Templeman in the final battles, cheered on over commentary by Cole’s mother, Leanne Armstrong. 

 

“We had a goal at the start of the year and we’ve just achieved it,” a jubilated Armstrong said following his win.

 

“I’m absolutely over the moon. These people standing behind me have put their heart and soul into it just as much as I have and it paid off. Seven years we’ve been waiting to get here and we’ve finally got it.

 

“To take out the round win too is just magical.”

 

Having defeated Dylan Woolhouse in the top-24, Vehicle Imports Direct drifter Joel Patterson came up against Woolhouse’s cousin ‘Fanga’ Dan Woolhouse.

 

The first of the top-16 battles saw Woolhouse go head-to-head with Joel Patterson. In his Nissan Skyline R32, Patterson stuck to the bumper of Woolhouse’s Commodore in their first run, but dropped a wheel off.

The crowd went wild when drama struck. Woolhouse dropped a wheel off in back-to-back corners before spinning at turn three. Patterson handed the win.

Cole Armstrong leapt out ahead of Jerry Zhu in their first top-16 run and was handed the easy run into the top-eight after Zhu straight lined the course. He then continued his charge through to the top-eight as he swept past Troy Jenkins.

 

Adam Davies made a colossal mistake in his top-16 battle against Troy Jenkins. The Mimico backed drifter climbed the turn two kerb after a half spin, which gave Jenkins the pass through to the top-eight. The second run saw Davies suffer a blown intercooler.

 

Darren Kelly led an underpowered Joe Marshall into turn one, but the Nissan Skyline GT-R powered away from Marshall. However, perhaps the greatest upset started as Kelly straight lined turn one before snapping wildly into turn two and went straight over the grass through the esses. 

 

Joel Patterson looked to threaten Joe Marshall’s title bid as he rode the bumper of the leading Toyotaz Galore GT86, but dropped a wheel off to the inside of turn one. Marshall didn’t play it safe in the second run as he looked to hound the leading Skyline, and into the top-four. 

 

The first top-four battle saw a hard charging Wilkinson – who’d stormed past Chad McKenzie, and Jaron Olivecrona – go up against Daynom Templeman. There was a significant gap between the two cars in their first run. Whilst Templeman was shallow at times, Wilkinson stacked on angle, but the judges determined a one-more-time.

 

Unfortunately for Wilkinson, his best run this season season saw the OMT go the way of Templeman.

 

An initially strong chase by Joe Marshall against Reid was undone on the switch when he dropped a wheel off, compounded by a straight line at turn two. 

 

Nico Reid and Cole Armstrong fought for the final spot in the first of the top-four semi-finals—the pair were inseparable in their first run. Ultimately, Armstrong took victory after each took their respective five-minute time outs. 

 

 

Tom Marshall and Templeman each made their fair share of mistakes in their top-four semifinal battle, but the biggest mistake came from Marshall with less than 50 metres to the finish. He straight lined and under steered into the outside wall at turn four, giving Templeman the win. 

 

The final battles were set—Armstrong and Templeman battled for the win, whilst Reid and Marshall battled for the final podium spot.

 

Reid looked odds on to win the battle for third until he went too hot into turn two, skating off the track into turn three, handing Marshall the third for the round. 

 

In the final battle of the weekend Armstrong faced Templeman for outright honours. Armstrong led Templeman in the first battle and was judged to have clipped every zone. 

 

As he chased Templeman, he struggled to see through the smoke coming from the 1000 horsepower BMW M3. However, he made it out the other side having hit all the clips the judges desired, whilst running close to the rear of his rival.

 

The judged duly gave Armstrong overall victory and with it the 2016–’17 Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship. 

 

The Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship takes on Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium for their non-championship teams champs on May 19-20. To find out more about the non-championship round, visit D1NZ.com for more information.

SALOONS TO SILVIAS, MATT HIGHAM’S MOTORSPORT SWITCH TO D1NZ

  • Written by D1NZ Admin



Matt Higham is the latest racer to make the switch from circuit racing to the sideways theatre of the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship.

This year the Auckland drifter is taking on a full campaign in the D1NZ Pro-Sport Series. The class serves as the feeder category to the Pro Series, which is the pinnacle of New Zealand drifting competition.

“It’s always good to try different styles and get a bit of versatility in your driving—it’s been a fun transition,” Higham said.

“It’s a good friendly environment with good competition where the drivers help each other out. D1NZ is a much more low-key and enjoyable place with a lot less pressure.”

Like many aspiring circuit racers Higham began his racing career in karting. He followed the beaten track to Formula First and then into Formula Ford before making a few fleeting appearances in the now defunct V8 Challenge Cup.

Higham said he became disillusioned in circuit racing, but his passion for Japanese drifting culture pushed him to carry on his motor racing ambition.

“I’ve always had a passion for Silvia’s, which spurred on my interest in drifting and the Japanese sort of style.

“I was slowly beginning to lose interest in circuit racing, but I was also doing a bit of crewing for D1 at the time—it all sort of grew from there.”

The likes of Supercars Championship winner Shane van Gisbergen and former Castrol Toyota Racing Series competitor, now D1NZ veteran, Daynom Templeman have shown circuit racers can perform highly and even win in the competitive series’.

However, Higham said the sport needs a shift in perception so circuit racers and fans alike understand what drifting in New Zealand is about.

“When you look at how well Shane van Gisbergen has done it’s credible and it’s a good reference to know that he’s done it. It’s disappointing in my eyes that it is regarded as an ‘other’ sport. There’s a lot of skill involved and it did open my eyes coming across.

“The car preparation and quality of the fabrication and just the general workmanship on them is pushed to the side and regarded as second rate. But there are some incredible cars parked up and some equally incredible driving.

“Hopefully it starts to stand out a bit more and be recognised amongst the circuit racing guys.”

Higham believed Pro-Sport is the perfect proving ground for racers from any motor racing code. With the development series often oversubscribed, he said it can only help to serve the Pro Series as more drifters develop their race craft.

“If you want to test yourself amongst a really good field then 40 guys in Pro-Sport is a pretty good field to compare your skills. It can only do good things for Pro in a few years’ time with new guys from Pro-Sport feeding through eventually.

“I’ve got a lot to learn and a lot of knowledge to gain in Pro-Sport. I’d like to start doing better in the next year or two and then from there we’ll see where we are and start looking for sponsorship to see if we put a plan together.”





REDWARD RETURNS TO HAMPTON DOWNS WITH EXPERIENCE ON HIS SIDE

  • Written by D1NZ Admin



After a stellar return to the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship at round four of the series, Andrew Redward will look to use his circuit experience to go one better at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park over March 25-26.

Redward put on a near perfect series return at Tauranga’s ASB Baypark Stadium where he finished runner-up to ATJ Drift’s Tom Marshall.

Now his attention shifts to the North Waikato’s Hampton Downs Motorsport Park where he’ll hope his experience will give him the edge over his rivals. Redward has had plenty of practice on the club circuit, which the series will move to for the first time this year.

“I’ve had five days there now, we’ve spent a lot of time at the track,” Redward said.

“The track works really well for battles. We’ve been there for a few club days and the trains that we can put on are four, five, six cars deep and everyone’s on their doors—It’s good!

“It’s a really fun track for battling, because you’re always on someone.”

He said the circuit will put on a show for the drivers and fans alike. An aggressive tight entry will provide one of the biggest challenges on the circuit, but high horsepower cars will thrive as they exit turn two as they enter the fast sweeping final right hander.

Redward was pumped following his performance at the last outing in Tauranga. The return signalled the Demon Energy D1NZ veteran hadn’t lost his touch, despite the challenge the new circuit posed.

“It was cool, I was just stoked to be in the battles really. There’s a strong field out there and there’s always going to be people who lose out. I spun on my first run, which felt like an awesome run, and the second one we just put a banker in.

“The battles went well. I pushed as hard as I could. A couple of guys spun out in front of me, which was a bit unfortunate.

“I’d like to think my chases were still decent, but it was fun; I enjoyed it.”

Redward said he’d be making sure to give his V8-powered Mazda RX-7 a good once over before the penultimate round of the series.

“I still want to take the engine out because we’ve been running nitrous for three events now, so I want to check all the bearings, go through it and make sure everything’s mint.”

Round four of the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship takes place at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park over March 25-26 for the first time on the newly built Club Circuit. For more information visit D1NZ.com.