The final round of DriftCup drops into Driftland. An impressive grid size but even more impressive is the Scottish driver turn out taking up around half of the grid.
Practice had only been going on for roughly 30 minutes and already people were settling in and getting some nice, close driving providing quite an exciting practice. Even with a lot of drivers never having been to Driftland before, After an hour or so of practice 90% of people were starting to put down consistent runs and with only the occasional spin here and there, providing plenty of practice time for everyone.
Qualifying went great for the local Scottish lads, with 13 of them qualifying and going into top 32 battles. Mark Gemmell hot of his win in SDC last weekend qualifyied 1st. William Hanna first time competing in DriftCup qualifying in a strong 5th place with Taylor Bloomfield and Barry Stevenson just making it into the top 32. the later half of the top 32 was very fiercly contested with positions 19 to 31 only seperated by 4 points!
With Mark Webb already winning the championship before round 5 there was no pressure on him, but ofcourse he wouldn’t want to sit out. That almost became the case with his car throwing a fit right as he was going into qualifying, luckily for him he managed to put in 2 runs that planted him into 25th position. Michelle Westby managed to put in a great qulifying run putting herself into 8th position going into battles. Michelle like many others who had never been to the track before, started out slowly reading the track and lines then progressivly charging harder with each run.
First battle of the top 32 was also the first pair of Scots to battle. Taylor was nursing a clutch issue in the E30 since qualifying which hampered his runs with William, giving William the win. That’s not to say that it was an easy win for William, but he was on fire all day driving really good!
Barry the punk faced of against 2nd place qualifier Stuart Maclachan and were having good battle, but on the 2nd run barry seemed to come in too hot and had a spin, giving the win to Stuart.
Now we come to the battle that will be talked about for quite some time.. Michelle Westby vs Mark Webb. Even before the battle it looked to be interesting. Michelle was driving very well as seen by her 8th place qualifying position and Mark just wanted to get on some doors and have a blast. In the first run coming through the transition in between clips 6-7 Mark was too close which caused him to be thrown of track giving an easy 10-0 advantage to Michelle.
The 2nd run is where things get interesting. Michelle chased super hard on mark but coming through clip 3 seemed to straighten up and quite simply rammed him.. Causing them both to slide up the bank and most interestingly cause their battle to go into a one my time. Also interesting to note is the smile on marks face as they were spinning up the bank, with both of them throwing a fist out the window and having a hug, no hard feelings were had. after another few interesting runs Mark would eventually take the win over Michelle.
Jeek faced of against the mighty Kriss Darling. Now you may be wondering.. “whats with the ratchet strap on Kriss’ car?” Well, in practice his bonnet flew up and smashed the window. I’m guessing as a safety measure they thought it would be best to make sure it couldn’t open again. In battle Jeek couldn’t quite chase as closely as Kriss could and Kriss ended up going through to the great 8.
Ben Fisher and Chris Taylor met in the top 16 and provided a very nice close battle that Ben would eventually win. Ben would then go on to battle Marcin in the amazing Supra in the top 8. Marcin was on fire the entire day putting down superb qualifying lines in the lead position as well as doing some great chase driving netting him a place in the top 4.
First battle going into the top 4 came down to Callum Marshall and Charles Funnell. Charles had taken out quite a few impressive cars to reach this battle. Beating out Stuart Jones in the mighty 400bhp S14 as well as William Hanna. Callum also beat out some heavy hitters, taking down 2nd place qualifyier Stuart Maclachan in the top 16 and then going on to beat Kriss Darling in the top 8. Callum had just that little bit better of a chase drive against Charles, with Charles not quite being able to follow Callum as closely.
On the other side of the bracket Genetic Drifter Rob Johnston was up against Marcin. Marcin had a clean upper had over Rob with track knowledge which seemed to pay of well. Rob chased Marcin well but had to sacrafice angle in order to keep up with Marcin’s Supra giving Marcin the win.
The battle for 3rd saw Rob facing of against Charles in the E36 Touring. both drove excellent lead runs but noticeably Rob chased much better than he did in the previous battle with Marcin.
DriftCup Round 5 final came down to 2 Driftland locals, Both of which had been driving superb all day. Marcin lead Callum in the first run with both drivers showing the same consistant driving they had been doing throughout the competition. After the 2nd run however it was imediatly clear on who had won the battle.
Rob won himself 3rd defeating Charles and taking home a well deserved trophy. Following on from a rather weak chase on Marcin in the top 4 he would vastly improve his chase driving against Charles in the battle for 3rd place. Unlucky for Charles but for someone driving a lower powered BMW, He put in some great work to make it into 4th place.
In the battle for 1st place Callum would take 2nd. Marcin’s chase run in the final was pretty amazing, he stayed all over Callum throughout the entire run netting himself a very well deserved victory. Callum was comming of a 2nd place finish in last weeks Scottish Drift Championship and put in some great work to bag another 2nd place trophy 2 weeks in a row.
Michelle Westby would pick up hard charger honours for providing what i’m sure a lot of people that attended Round 5 would feel to be the most entertaining battle of the day.
Mark Webb had already won the championship at Round 4 but still drove very had at Driftland regardless. with some unfortunate car issues he eventually got knocked out of top 16 by local driver Stuart McLellan. Congratulations to Mark on the championship win, it shall be very interesting to watch him drive in the BDC next year.
Massive congratulations to the top 4 drivers, none of them had an easy job getting to the top 4 in what was a very competative top 32.
In this last year of drift competition in the UK the driving level has sky rocketed. DriftCup may be the feeder series for the British Drift Championship but i feel everyone who made it to the top 16 at Round 5 would certainly give any BDC driver a run for their money in competition.
Words and photo’s by Connor Mathieson