Australians have a bit of a reputation for charging head-on into things, consequences be damned. Sometimes this is bad, but other times it’s great. In an action sport like drifting, it’s definitely the latter. True, cars get broken as a result, especially at an event like VicDrift’s first round this year, where competitors run the long, curved concrete wall that cocoons the north-west side of Calder Park Raceway. But that’s the risk the drivers take, and it makes for one hell of a show for the fans.
This year’s competition is shaping up to be an interesting one, too. Current champion Michael Prosenik has been honing his skills in international competition recently via time in D1NZ and even some Asian drift events, but this has meant his main car, the supercharged V8 S13 he affectionately calls ‘Dazza’, is currently unavailable for local battle.
So for round one (and seemingly beyond), he switched to his brother Rob’s SR20-powered S13, which definitely changed the game, as Prosenik had to get used to both less power and a completely different handling balance. In the end, it sadly proved too much, as despite scything his way through most of the field, showing his overseas seat time had definitely paid off, ‘The Proz’ made an uncharacteristic error in his top four battle with Ender Esenyel, and made heavy contact with the wall.
Sadly, things didn’t get much better after that, as he borrowed Aaron Dewar’s V8 S13 to continue, only to put that into the wall as well. Prosenik still came away with fourth, but was clearly gutted. But ever the showman, he still entertained the crowd with a burnout, even if he had to borrow his brother’s tow car (a Holden Colorado ute) to do so. Let’s hope the remaining rounds treat Prosenik better.
The man who benefited from Prosenik’s mistakes, Ender Esenyel, is also a man to watch this year. Esenyel is a seasoned campaigner, but his recent results haven’t really reflected that.
This year, though, things seem to be different. Not only did he come away with second after losing to Khudar El-Haouli, he’s flying to Malaysia soon to compete in the exhibition round of King Of Asia Drift. There’s clearly a determination there for 2015 we haven’t seen in a while.
Eventual winner, Khudar El-Haouli (in the blue S14), is also an interesting case. No international seat time plans this year (seemingly), and last year he was comprehensively upstaged by his brother Moe, who was only one battle away from winning the championship. Yet he went about his business at round one this year in a clean, methodical manner that showed 2015 could be his time to shine.
Kudos to Khudar for not losing his cool in his top four battle with eventual third place-getter Danny Remarek, either, after Remarkek decided that, having already lost thanks to a mistake on his chase run, he would go out in style by sticking his arm out of the window mid-tandem battle.
Before I leave you with a gallery from the event, I thought it best to also give an honourable mention to Michael Bonney, who seems to have gone from regular also-ran to potential threat in the space of six months. He and his 2J-powered S15 started to show his form at ADGP Round 2, and ended up in the Top 8 at VicDrift Round 1. Let’s hope he continues to prove his critics wrong.