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New winners and champions at thrilling Repco D1NZ season finale

A climactic final round of the Repco D1NZ Championship at Mercury Baypark rang in new Drift King’s along with round winners - starting with Australia’s Luke Fink clinching a dramatic victory in the Pro category. The field was brimming with talent, making the battles intensely competitive from the top 16 onwards and establishing this round as one of the most competitive in D1NZ history.

 

Fink, having just arrived from Japan, had limited practice but managed to qualify 8th in what many are calling the best qualifying session ever in D1NZ. His journey through the brackets was cinematic, beginning with a nail-biting one-more-time battle against two-time DK Cole Armstrong Drift. A slight mistake by Cole on the entry gave Luke the upper hand, leading to his advancement.

 

Elsewhere in the competition, Taylor James from Central Drift Team, who topped the qualifying with a record-breaking score of 98.3, faced an unexpected setback against Connor Halligan when a tyre de-beaded, knocking Taylor out early. Connor's consistent performance earned him a match against Luke, where Luke narrowly emerged victorious.

 

The dramatic clashes continued on the lower left side of the bracket where three-time DK Darren Kelly Drift triumphed over Cody Pullen-Bury, who was driving a car borrowed from his brother, Kase Pullen-Bury, NZ's latest DK. This set up a highly anticipated rematch between Darren and Luke.

 

On the right side of the bracket, Kase Pullen-Bury dominated. Although only needing to reach the top 16 to secure the championship, Kase continued with his season-strong ambition, defeating all challengers including a resurgent Fanga Dan. However, Fanga's aggressive approach led to a collision with the concrete, ending his run.

 

The rematch between Darren and Luke ended in drama. Darren, leading with precision, faced Luke's aggressive chase which resulted in a de-beaded tyre for Luke. As the battles intensified, Darren also succumbed to the concrete, mirroring Fanga’s fate and leading to a one-more-time call. However, Luke would ultimately face Kase PB in the final showdown.

 

Kase, known as 'Verstappen' for his aggressive driving style found himself following the path of Fanga in to the wall on the final run, handing the win to Luke. The points were enough for Luke to climb to second overall, 80 behind Kase, meaning the final run runner-up becomes our first ever Repco D1NZ Pro-Sport to Pro Champion in back-to-back seasons. Dave Steedman finished third on 308 Points.

 

Keisuke Nagashima Crowned 2024 Repco D1NZ Pro-Sport Champion

 

This season, Keisuke amassed a total of 402 points, securing the top spot in the championship. Following Keisuke, Daniel Edwards finished with 334 points, and Adam Whitehead rounded out the top three with 322 points.

 

Pete Dreaver of ABC Drift Kids, returning to competition after focusing on his business, made a memorable comeback. Having decided to join the competition just a week prior to the event, Pete's performance was particularly impressive considering his brief preparation. His car, mostly unused since last year's Grand Final, was quickly prepped for battle. Pete's skill was evident from his first lap, and his impressive qualifying run earned him a score of 93.0, placing him second outright.

 

Pete faced and defeated several formidable opponents on his way to the final. Notably, he overcame D1NZ veteran RK DRIFT NZ and the in-form Matty Jae, demonstrating his consistency and mastery of the track. His victory against Ryan Parry in the top 4 was a decisive moment, sending Pete into the final showdown.

 

The final battle saw Pete pitted against Keisuke. Pete emerged victorious in this round, highlighting his potential as a strong contender for next year's Pro-Sport title. However, it was Keisuke who ultimately secured the championship.

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