Formula D: Round 1
Streets of Long Beach
Long Beach, CA
April 11-12, 2009
If the first event of the season is any indication of things to come, we’re amped to see what is in store for drifting fans in 2009. The big news is the fact that a first-ever win was awarded to Ryan Tuerck in his Gardella Racing / Mobil 1 Pontiac Solstice. Not only is this a big win for the young drifter but he is also from the East Coast a feat rarely accomplished in the past. Tuerck has come close in the past after slipping by some of the sharp-shooters in the series, but now he has earned his stripes as an event winner on one of the toughest courses of the year.
The Streets of Long Beach circuit is unforgiving, as each corner is surrounded by solid concrete barriers. The turns are all blind and diving into a corner is usually calculated from bits of memory. The street course played host to the season opener event and a frenzied crowd. They were eager to get the action underway as was the new panel of judges including driver Tony Angelo. For 2009, Formula D will be using a two-day event format and this was the first time a Top 32 format was used to include more drivers and give the fans much more action.
The season opener event unveiled some highly anticipated rides including Rhys Millen’s Red Bull / RMR Hyundai Genesis Coupe. The car that had been the subject of much debate on the internet was now put to the ultimate test. Another impressive debut belonged to Vaughn Gittin Jr. and the 2010 Falken Tire Ford Mustang GT with the new face-lift and some extra go-fast goodies. Defending champion Tanner Foust in the Rockstar / Scion Racing tC wowed fans with his new ride, as Foust shelved the now legendary AEM Rockstar 350Z! Foust placed a respectable third place after a very intense battle with Robbie Nishida in the Hankook Tire / Dynamic Autosport Nissan 350Z for the consolation round.
In the finals there were mostly familiar faces with the exception of east-coaster Tuerck. The finals saw the two-time Formula D champ Samuel Hubinette in the NuFormz Racing / Mopar Dodge Viper against Tuerck and the Gardella Racing / Mobil 1 Pontiac Solstice. Tuerck had been driving consistently throughout the event and was able to edge out Hubinette earning his first victory ever! Hubinette and Foust will be a menace to Tuerck as he attempts to hold his lead in the proceeding rounds.
“It’s an amazing feeling starting the season off on top,” says Tuerck. “This isn’t a one man show and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of the Gardella Racing / Mobil 1 Pontiac Solstice team. It’s very satisfying to stand at the top of such a talented field of competitors.” Tuerck was able to slip past last years champ Tanner Foust as well, so he truly earned his spot on the podium this time around.
The crowds and the action were all on point for this 2009 season kick-off. We expect Formula D to step up the action with the renewed presence of the D1 Grand Prix in the USA. PAS will be there every step of the way covering the events and bringing readers the Official 2009 Formula D calendar, so keep your eye open for this limited edition collectible.