Sunday, December 7, 2014
Best Philippine Drifters Awarded at Hyundai Lateral Drift Championship Awards Ceremony
There were no crashes, but lots of burning—as the best drifters in the Philippines smoked out tires and engines in the recently concluded 2014 Hyundai Lateral Drift Championship. In its ninth year, and second in partnership with Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (HARI), this season’s drift championship showcased 40 drivers, proving the immense growth of the sport in the country.
Enthusiasts and spectators who graced the competition wouldn’t have missed the Hyundai Genesis Coupe with a sticker that shouts “Anyone can drive in a straight line, but only a few can drift.” This is exactly what drifting has become: a sport in a new level.
“I am happy to see how the Hyundai Lateral Drift Championship is gaining a bigger following each time,” said Ms. Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, President and CEO of HARI. With the excitement of drifting, more and more car enthusiasts are getting into the sport. Drifting is neither the cheapest nor the easiest skill to learn, but its complexity translates into beauty.
This growth is further proven by the two divisions of the tournament: Amateur and Pro. These divisions do not just separate the seasoned from the young bloods, but make room for new drifters as well. This year, 10 new drifters joined the amateur ranks, while last year’s amateurs Mark Bernardo and E.J. Malibiran jumped to the pros. Ralph Tan, a former amateur champion, has been strutting off his stuff in the pro ranks for a while now.
All this hype carried over to the last leg of this year’s championships in the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga. The Pro Division of the six-round tournament came to a down-the-wire finish, as the top 3 drivers all had a shot to win the championship in the final round. The Drift Couple, Hiromi Kajikuma and Kimihiro Obata, surely had their hands full in judging the championship for the 2nd straight year.
Defending champ Gio Rodriguez of Team Atoy Customs entered the last round trailing John Boban of Team Drift Mob for first place, while followed closely by Boodie Dabasol. 2011 champion Audel Sison of Team Autocraft, who placed 4th, also had a chance at a podium finish.
Rodriguez, who was also a 2013 finalist for TV show “Pilipinas Got Talent” with Ralph Tan, proved his hunger for dominance and outperformed Boban in the final round to become back-to-back Pro Division Champion. Boban finished in 2nd place, while Sison bumped Dabasol to grab 3rd place.
The Amateur Division crowned a new champion in Kar Montaner, but not without fierce competition. Drift newbie Peter Schroth, who also won this year’s Rookie of the Year plum, came in 2nd after 5 rounds and had his eyes on the title. But Montaner’s consistent performance throughout the tournament proved to be insurmountable, and eventually made him the champion.
The previous rounds of the tournament were spread throughout May to November, and held in various venues, including the Mega Tent in Quezon City and Quirino Grandstand in Manila.
Expect more tire-burning, engine-bursting action next year, as the exclusive drift championships in the Philippines turns 10. Hyundai and Lateral Drift Productions promise to deliver excitement and intensity equal to a decade of excellence—all for the love of drift.