Australian blitzes Kiwi drifters to top D1NZ qualifying
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Australian drifter Michael Prosenik showed the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship Pro Series how to master the Forsyth Barr Stadium Circuit, as he topped qualifying.
Prosenik only took the wheel of the Toyotaz Galore GT86 for the first time on Friday practice, and was quick to adapt.
Qualifying was a fast-paced affair with action aplenty. In her Milwaukee Toyota Supra, Jodie Verhulst made sure she was heard, as her 2JZ-powered car popped and crackled its way sideways around the circuit. It was a solid first run, and put her into X after the first run.
While Verhulst looked for a better second run, her partner Drew Donovan hauled around the concrete circuit. The judges deliberated over a wheel drop, but the replays showed the Tauranga based drifter was safe — going to fourth.
Whilst the judges were looking for clipping points, D1NZ Pro Series debutant Joel Patterson clipped the outside barriers as he went wide through the switchback.
With Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium playing host to the D1NZ for the only South Island round, the South Island drivers were looking to make a stand in their closest event to home.
Darren Kelly’s first qualifying run behind the wheel of his factory backed Nissan GT-R saw the former champion pour smoke from the rear of his weapon. Despite the smooth run, it only scored the 2014–’15 D1NZ Pro Series champion a mere 66-points. His second run brought him a better result, with 74-points.
Debuting his new-look Holden Commodore VF, former two-time champion ‘Fanga’ Dan Woolhouse scored an 87-point run, setting the pace on his first run.
Australian import Matty Hill in his Three Fingers Neat Nissan Silvia S15 showed his intentions in practice, and backed that up with a qualifying run for second provisionally. He humped to second on 78.5-points, but was quickly usurped by Daynom Templeman who jumped ahead on a 80.5-point run.
Another Australian, Michael Prosenik, was making his moves felt out on track. One of the most pinpoint perfect runs of the night in only his first loop gave him the best score with a 90.5-point score.
Qualifying was proving to be a challenge for a lot of the top-line drifters, with eight in the field failing to set a score after the first run through.
2016–’17 runner up Nico Reid pushed hard in his opening run, but a small correction cost the South Auckland slider. Despite the small error, it was enough to get Reid to eighth with one more run to go.
Fanga Dan’s fed his Commodore into the walls on his second run, with smoke flowing off the rear. However, it wasn’t quite enough to take the spot off Prosenik.
The session was brought to a halt as it neared its completion, as D1NZ Pro Series returnee Brad Smith slid off the track as he exited the final corner. In his Nissan 350z, he went wide and off the track. Smith collided with the plastic barriers, which were sent flying.
A quick clean up got the action back underway again. Of the last challengers, only Cole Armstrong could make any inroads on Prosenik’s score. The Nissan Skyline drifter jumped to third just two-and-a-half points behind Woolhouse.
The D1NZ Pro Series kicks into gear December 3rd at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium. Gates open at 12pm, with Pro top-26 battles taking place at 3:30pm. The excitement for spectators will run into the evening with the Stadium SuperMoto Cup and Kartsport Dunedin crews mixing up the action.
D1NZ Pro Series qualifying results
1. Michael Prosenik — 90.5
2. ‘Fanga’ Dan Woolhouse — 87
3. Cole Armstrong — 85.5
4. Joe Marshall — 84.5
5. Nico Reid — 82.5
6. Daynom Templeman — 81
7. Matty Hill — 81
8. Phil Sutherland — 81
9. Drew Donovan 78.5
10. Darren Kelly — 74