Drift season has opened on the Moscow Raceway track near Moscow. Famous Japanese drifters Tetsuya Hibino and Daigo Saito did not go beyond the Top 16 RDS GP!
Surprising but true! Those athletes, whom the Russian drifters were equal to and dreamed of fighting a couple of years ago, now have not even made it into the Top 4. And this is not an accident - right now the Russian championship is becoming one of the strongest in the world, and not everyone can compete with our guys in skill, entertainment and speed. Even the masters make fatal mistakes and drop out of the game.
The tenth anniversary season of the six-stage RDS GP championship traditionally started at Moscow Raceway as the most suitable track for the opening of the season - with one of the most difficult trajectories, a huge paddock for entertainment and a large number of seats - and gathered more than 20 thousand spectators in two days of competition.
On Friday, May 3, after qualifying and a big autograph session, the first races of the Top 32 took place, on Saturday I started with the Top 16, and these races brought a lot of surprises, but Friday already prepared a few surprises for the audience.
Who would have thought that the first to descend would be those on whom the audience had high hopes? Evgeny Ruzheinikov and Arkady Tsaregradtsev dropped out even before the start of the competition due to technical problems that could not be eliminated. The new carbon fiber gimbal "Tsar" ordered to live long, as well as the next one, which he borrowed from Georgy Chivchyan.
photo from instagram Arkady Tsaregradtsev
“We started for health, finished for peace. Two cardan shafts. Carbon fiber and ordinary, taken from Gocha, - wrote Arkady Tsaregradtsev on Instagram. - We stand beautifully in the technical park, the tires are blackened, the fit has been removed, in my head it is less common to ask the engineer to screw the gripper: after all, a fourth to the floor right at the stage is not always the best idea.
Next in line is the new Nismo, reinforced carbon, cardan, and the whole season ahead! The main thing is that I get the most out of the wheelbarrow! "
Evgeny Ruzheinikov had problems with the gearbox:
photo from Instagram Evgeny Ruzheinikov
“Unfortunately, the deceased gearbox right on the first touchandgo-zone spoiled our mood a little,” Eugene wrote. - But this is motorsport, it also happens. Unfortunately, the new rules in which you have to fix within your group, where there are five or six cars, do not give enough time for such a repair. They also drag a car along MRW for eternity :)) but all these are just unnecessary facts, unfortunately: maintenance! MRW is not given to me in drifting, for the life of me … For the third year, continuous problems … Let's break through! After all, Ryazan is farther, and then the capacity is not so important! "
Other drifters also had technical problems, but in most cases they were successfully resolved.
Tetsuya Khibino and Fyodor Vorobyov (right)
In general, the first stage gathered many famous names, including those from Asia: two world-famous Japanese drifts - Daigo Saito and Tetsuya Hibino, and the Chinese drifter Charles Eng. Saito, vice-champion of the RDS GP-2018, is playing for the Aimol Racing Russia team this year with Ilya Fedorov and Yekaterina Naboichenko, and Tetsuya Khibino rides with Fresh Auto with Fedor Vorobyov, Denis Migal and Damir Idiyatulin. By the way, Damir's return after a year's absence turned out to be truly sensational, and the drift that he showed throughout the entire stage was truly beautiful. As for Saito, according to the organizer and owner of RDS Dmitry Dobrovolsky, the Japanese said that the only top championship that he has not yet submitted is the RDS GP, and now it is a matter of honor for him to win this tournament.Another Asian pilot, Charles NG, is for the Aimol Racing China team. Interestingly, Eng has already come to Russia and Moscow Raceway to participate in competitions - but not in drifting, but in the WTCC World Touring Touring Car Championship.
But not only Asians come to Russia to drift.
This year, the Lukoil Racing HGK Drift team includes two very fast and titled pilots: Latvian Kristaps Blushs and Ukrainian Alexei Golovnya. So here both Lukoil Racing returned to drift (in the early 2000s they supported Fedor Vorobyov) and Kristaps Blushs returned to Russian drift. Kristaps has already played in the Russian drift series, including for the Evil Empire team in 2014. And with Aleksey Golovnya, they were also team-mates in Team Eedc in the Eastern European Championship.
Now, in the 2019 season, Lukoil Racing has become the title sponsor of the HGK team and once again united the two drivers. According to Lukoil representatives, it was not the goal to gather foreign legionnaires in the team, they just chose two very fast athletes. Two more foreigners came from Belarus: Dmitry Nagula and Sergey Sak. By the way, it was Nagula who knocked out Tettsuya Khibino to the Top 16, and Daigo Saito himself made a mistake in the second race with Anton Svarinsky, colliding with him at the inner clipping point at the lowest point of the Mercedes Arena. Anton Svarinsky and Dmitry Nagula play this season for the same team - Wego Drift Team.
Of the two girls, two Yekaterinas, who took part in the first stage, Yekaterina Sedykh did not go above the Top 32, losing to Nikita Shikov, and Katya Naboichenko in the Top 16 lost to Damir Idiyatulin, in whose car she participated in last RDS season. In general, if you look at the results of the Top 16, they turned out to be more than logical - there were no more surprises except for Khibino and Saito.
Ekaterina Naboichenko (left)
Nikita Shikov's duet with Sergei Kabargin was, as they say, textbook - in the sense that it showed how not to go. Their first doubles race was built on mutual mistakes - that is, the judges chose not the one who drove better, but who was worse. As a result, the pilots got One More Time and took to the track again. After ddkaba made contact and flew off the track, it would seem that Nikita had a victory in his hands, but … The judges considered that, instead of finishing his drift according to the rules, he straightened up and did not actually complete the race. As a result, the judges gave the victory to Kabargin.
Very strong pilots reached the quarterfinals, and the pairs broke up in such a way that the Top-8 promised to be very, very interesting. Alexei Golovnya played against Dmitry Naguly and won, Sergei Kabargin, who was clearly in shock these days (even in qualifying he took fifth place!), Took out Charles Eng, Anton Svarinsky lost to Georgy Chivchyan, but the fourth doubles arrival of Kristaps Blushs and Damir Iliyatulin can be called the sharpest and most beautiful for the entire stage - but also the longest. Two unconditional masters of their craft, who showed an amazing, very technical drift, which I would like to call a dance, could not figure out among themselves who was cooler. Both pilots had errors and inaccuracies, nevertheless, the overall impression of their pair made the most favorable. In the first race, after a synchronized transfer, Damir loses a little speed,trying to keep up with Kristaps, he makes up for it and makes contact at the bottom of the clipping zone, as a result of which a small piece of red body kit flies off Blush's BMW.
In the second race, Kristaps immediately rammed Damir during the staging, and then completely flies off the track, which goes to his minus. As a result, on races the pilots get 1: 1 and in this case, One More Time! In between, the mechanics of Kristaps manage to slightly tweak the suspension damaged in the collision, and Blushs again goes to the start. The second series of races started more successfully, the audience was happy with the shown show, again the judges could not make a decision, but this time - who is the best, and once again appointed One More Time!
The usual competition is already developing into a real battle. Again, before entering the track, both pilots "change their shoes" - powerful cars literally gobble up rubber - by the way, on Sylvia near Gocha there is a similar situation, it was said that he even had a reduced engine power so that there would be enough tires for at least both paired trips …
Alas, in the first part of the third passage, Kristaps is clearly experiencing some technical problems, as a result, he flies off the track with two rear wheels, raises clouds of dust and comes back in a straight line. Did not work out. Moreover, Kristaps requests an evacuation, but ends up returning to the pitlane on his own, and the mechanics have five minutes to fix technical problems.
The final race of the two most talented pilots was very nervous, but simply brilliant: Kristaps is great in the role of catch-up - he walks at a minimum distance, repeats all movements and holds the right angle. But at the very end, near the finish line, it still allows contact, and Altezza Damir's rear bumper flies off! And this becomes a defining moment in their entire triple history of doubles races. The judges unanimously give the victory to Damir, who will go with Georgy Chivchyan in the semifinals.
Despite the fact that Gocha will be the winner in the semifinal race, we can say that it was Damir who became the protagonist of the first stage of the RDS GP, returning to drifting after a year's absence.
In general, Damir made his fans nervous. In the second race of the semifinals, he lost his way, according to his own words, in the smoke of Gochina Sylvia, and flew off the track into the grass after the last shift. And in this regard, I immediately went to the races for the third place with ddkaba. Well, Gocha - to the final with Alexei Golovnya.
And now it was time to race for the third place. It seems as if Damir Idiyatulin does not leave the track at all, becoming the protagonist of this sports play. And now the last act of the real drama is played out! The first race with Kabargin as the host is going quite well, even despite the barely noticeable contact between the cars. Damir hides in clouds of smoke, and suddenly the information comes that his wheel has fallen off! The long evacuation suggests that the competition is over for the Krasnoyarsk resident, but the mechanics of the Fresh Auto team manage to restore the car even faster than the five minutes allotted by the regulations, and Idiyatulin and Kabargin are again at the start.
The audience again prepared for a rather long story, perhaps even with One More Time, but Sergey Kabargin seems to be already tired. After the first transfer, he catches up with Alteza Damir and gives her a good acceleration, hitting her right side. Both cars stop at a decent distance from each other, the pilots are in no hurry to get out, then ddkaba appears, followed by Damir. Damir goes to Kabargin, what will happen?
But as usual in drifting, there is no place for anger and anger: Damir gives Sergey his hand, and they embrace in front of all spectators. Bingo!
As for the ending, this time it was over very quickly. Alexey Golovnya performed the first race as a leader relatively well, but in the second, at the very beginning, he made serious contact with the car of Georgy Chivchyan and stopped in the relegation zone. Thus, Gocha became the winner of the first stage of the RDS GP-2019!
All results can be viewed on the series website. The full broadcast of the event can be viewed on the official Youtube channel RDS GP:
A short interview with RDS CEO and owner Dmitry Dobrovolsky ahead of the new season.
- What's new in the championship this year?
-Now we have a new format for the stage - four official days with technical commissions, training and two days of competition.
We have a lot of foreign participants who have come no longer at our invitation, but of their own free will to take part in the championship. They do all this themselves, their teams and sponsors. For example, Charles Ang was brought here by the Chinese distributor Aimol, who really wanted to have his pilot in the championship.
We slightly changed the refereeing system, but by and large it will be more interesting for specialists than for the ordinary spectator. Previously, we only judged the clipping zones, now we returned to judging by sectors - this was the case in judging a few years ago, but in a slightly different form.
And one more thing - now at the end of each stage we play the winter drift "four" between the spectators.
- Will the return of Lukoil with its large budgets have a negative impact on the entire championship? Will it not affect the balance of power, will it not kill small teams?
- This has already affected the balance of power, this is obvious, but I cannot say that others will not be interested in this. On the contrary, it will become more interesting. Not only Lukoil has budgets in our country, besides, the level of our regular pilots in the championship is at least not lower than the level of their pilots. Gocha is the winner of the World Cup, Arkady Tsaregradtsev is the silver medalist of the World Cup. So we still need to catch up with them. I think that this year the intrigue will persist until the very last stage.
- Is it possible now, in the jubilee season, to summarize what happened and where did you come to?
- I would say that the championship has turned from an amateur wrestling party into a professional competition of a very high level. Professional teams have appeared, the main activity of which is motorsport, and this is how they make a living. As for us as organizers, we have long been convinced that in Russian motorsport we have no equal in terms of media coverage, quality, audience coverage and loyalty, and geographic breadth of the audience. Plus, now Japan has joined our constant domestic Russian audience - they started watching our YouTube, and we plan to do a Japanese-language broadcast, but at this stage our Japanese commentator could not get a visa, and this time we missed it. But we will also launch in Japanese to Ryazan. Now we have two Russian-speaking commentators, two English-speaking and there will be another Japanese - these are separate streams.Now the Japanese audience is not very large, but for it to grow, we need a Japanese stream.
- Who is judging the championship this year?
- Ryan Lantenier is one of the most professional judges in the world, a permanent judge of the American Formula Drift, we judged the FIA World Cup together. He is a very systematic person, correct in terms of methodology and assessments. The second referee is David Kallash from the Czech Republic, we also worked with him at the FIA event, and he is also a permanent referee for the Drift Masters, the European Drift Championship. He has been in drifting for a very long time, he himself once drove and is very well versed in drifting techniques. And the third judge is Alexander "Grynia" Grinchuk from Ukraine, a multiple champion of Ukraine in drifting, a regular judge of several events held under the Red Bull brand. So I can say that this is one of the most optimal judges that we have invited to our championship. All three balance each other perfectly,and now they had to make two very difficult decisions. And I can say that I agree with their decision.
- To what extent is our championship currently quoted in the world and what place does it take there?
- Depends on the evaluation criteria. If we take the sports component and the skill of the pilots, then it is definitely one of the first. If you take the media, we are still very well behind America. It will take another three years to catch up with them. But this requires English-language coverage, because in Russia we have already actually done everything we could. Americans have very strong support in social networks, the offline audience is also simply huge. In addition, they always fully sell tickets for all their events, even considering that they have much larger stadium capacity.