D1NZ drifters want ASB Baypark Stadium circuit return
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New Zealand’s top line Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship competitors have signalled their desire to return to Tauranga for another stab at the banked ASB Baypark Stadium circuit.
Round three winner Tom Marshall said he enjoyed the new challenge of riding the outer speedway wall. He found the wall ride was easier to tackle than expected, but loved the nature of the circuit.
“This track is probably easier to ride the wall than the ones at Dunedin because it’s a constant flow,” Marshall said.
“You can get the car on the wall and know that the corner is the same all the way around. Where as in Dunedin you’ve got lots of clipping points and you just sort of aim for the points.”
He wants to see the series come back to Tauranga, but changes to the circuit – incorporating the wall to be run twice – would be his preference.
“It’d be mean if they do decide to return. Maybe they could make it a bit longer, it’s quite short now and it was all over pretty quick. Even if you went back on the way you entered so you do a figure-of-eight. It’s always cool when you come out of a sweeper and you ride the wall.”
Former D1NZ Pro Series champion Darren Kelly was plagued with mechanical woes in the lead up to the third round of the championship. An engine failure in his Nissan New Zealand backed GT-R meant he had to borrow Cole Armstrong’s backup Nissan Skyline R34.
Despite his early exit from the event, his demise gave him a good opportunity to experience the atmosphere from the sidelines.
“We didn’t really get too much driving in – but the minimal amount we did get in a car that wasn’t set up for Pro competition – it was good,” Kelly said.
“I liked the layout of it. It was very technical with the 90-degree switch at the end, but that just makes for more of a challenge. That’s what we’re here to do, is challenge the best drivers.
“I liked it and would definitely be keen to do it again.”
The ASB Baypark Stadium circuit was the second time in a little under three months the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship undertook their second stadium event.
The series opened thier account at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium, where drifting took place under a roof for the first time in Southern Hemisphere history.
Kelly said the stadium setting was the perfect venue to give fans the best show possible in New Zealand motor racing.
“They definitely have to do it again. The atmosphere inside there was amazing! The crowd lined all the way around the outside. Everybody got involved in it, battle after battle after battle everyone was cheering and clapping and just enjoying it.
“It’s a totally different atmosphere and style. These stadium events are definitely something we need to keep doing.”
Utilising the speedway walls was a new feature for the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship. Kelly credited a lot of the driver's liking to the circuit coming down to the banked wallride through turn one.
Hometown favourite Cole Armstrong endured a tough time at the third round of the series. However, he didn’t let his failures put a dampener on his feelings surrounding the event.
“100 per cent yes. It just showed, even at halftime, the crowd that was there was phenomenal. That’s what we want as a sport,” Armstrong said.
“It’s bringing a wide variety of people to come in and see what we do. It’s only going to help drifting continue to grow. I definitely love it, if we come back here we’d change it up and make it slightly different, but make things better.
“I’d love it to come back. Tauranga and the upper-North Island got in behind us and it was awesome. It’s been unreal, a good time, and we’re happy where things are.”