Fanga Dan’s having a Goodyear so far

Published on June 15th, 2010

There was plenty of frictioned rubber, close proximity of bodies and a crowd left in awe under the hot and humid Putrajaya weather but it wasn’t exhibitionism at its wildest, instead it was the inaugural Goodyear International Drift Series (GIDS) that saw Kiwi drifter ‘Fanga’ Dan Woolhouse take the top spot.

Having qualified top of the individual judged runs, he proved it was no fluke by taking the overall win in the tsuiso knockout stages as well.

In the top 16 battle, Fanga Dan was paired up against Zaiham Hamdan and he went on to outmuscle and outclass Zaiham and his Corolla AE86 with his RB26-powered Holden Commodore.

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The next battle saw Hashiguti Anderson and his After12 Sil1580 take the win over Fazreen Ismail in his FXOpen Cefiro A31. It was a close battle but Anderson shadowed well on the second run to make it through.

Tsuiso battle number three saw the biggest surprise and disappointment of the day as Tengku Djan Ley was forced to retire during the second run against Rhenadi Arinton due to mechanical gremlins in his spare Nissan 180SX. Perhaps the decision to use the spare car was an unfortunate one as the ‘Tandem Assassin’ had left Rhenadi for dead in the first run, opening up a gap wider than the spread legs of a pornstar.

Completing the first half of the top 16 was Ah Fai in his 1JZ-GTE powered Sil1580 and Team Goodyear’s very own Michael Gan in a Cefiro A31. The torquey 1JZ allowed Ah Fai to pull away quicker and he used it to full effect, easing off the throttle at the exit of Turn 1 and then flooring it to pull away and leave Michael to straighten out and end his run.

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The second half of the top 16 kicked off with Ivan Lim and his Binter Tyres-Goodyear Silvia S13 taking on Mervyn Nakamura and his Federation D-Federal Tyres Cefiro A31. Victory was gifted to Mervyn as Ivan under steered on the exit of Turn 1.

The loudest car on the grid was up next, Tan Tat Wei and his twin-rotor 13B powered AE86 lined up against Lim Chee Leong. The potent combination of a lightweight chassis and high-revving engine made victory all but Tat Wei’s.

Another Goodyear drifter was up next, Hanizam ‘Loyai’ Hamzah, who leveled up with Ng Chun Lai of Team Boostzone on the starting grid. Loyai opted for speed while Chun Lai went with angle and Loyai’s shallow line ultimately ended his day.

Last of the top 16 saw Ivan Lau in the Bridgestone AE86 square up with Seah Swee Leng. Needless to say, the Bridgestone drifter took victory.

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So with the field halved, Fanga Dan was now lining up against Anderson. Throughout the day, Anderson was running some impressive speed and lines but on the second run he overcooked it and spun, gifting victory to Dan on a silver platter.

Indonesian Rhenadi was up next together with Ah Fai and once again, the power from Ah Fai’s 1JZ just aided him in opening up a huge gap over the GT Radial 180SX of Rhenadi.

Mervyn and Tat Wei lined up next. Tat Wei’s nimble lightweight ride and revvy rotor engine just had too much pace and control for Mervyn to handle, so much so that Tat Wei even managed to overtake Mervyn on the first run. That maneuver didn’t count for much though as overtaking is prohibited under Formula Drift regulations with some exceptions. As the judges tried to hammer it out, they finally decided on a One-More-Time. This time around, Tat Wei made no mistake and made victory his with a precise drive.

Battling it out for the final top 4 spot was Chun Lai and Ivan Lau. Using the same platform as his Bridgestone teammate Tat Wei, albeit with a different engine, Ivan and his AE86 was on fire, at times initiating into Turn 1 without the use of the handbrake, something that the other drifters found quite hard to do. Needless to say, Ivan made it through.

With a spot in the finals at stake, Fanga Dan took on Ah Fai and the Goodyear drifter fought fire with fire, managing to tame Ah Fai’s inline-six 1JZ with his own inline-six but from the Nissan stable.

It was a Team Bridgestone semi-final as Tat Wei and Ivan Lau clawed it out for the remaining final spot. Both drifters were on a different level throughout the day, making short work of their opponents but in the end only one AE86 was left standing, and it was the one with Ivan Lau behind the wheel.

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Before the finals, Ah Fai and Tat Wei had their go for third spot. In the end, it was Ah Fai that would take the last step on the podium.

So onto the finals with Fanga Dan and Ivan Lau. The first run saw Ivan leading with Dan making a great effort to stick to his doors. On the second run however, Ivan had carried much more speed into Turn 1 and sneaked on the inside to overtake Dan. However, as we mentioned earlier, overtaking doesn’t get you on Santa’s ‘Nice List’ and victory was awarded to Dan. Nonetheless, Ivan had put up an amazing show during the entire day and thoroughly deserved his second spot.

The GIDS is the only professional and amateur drift series in the country that is affiliated with Formula Drift. With next year’s Formula Drift Asia requiring the participants to possess a Formula Drift Asia Pro license, this is the feeder series that will provide local drifters with an avenue to qualify for the license.

“Drivers that achieve top 15 placements at the end of the International Drift Series will qualify to receive a Formula Drift Asia Pro license that is valid for one year, which will allow them to compete in future Formula Drift Asia competitions- such as the upcoming battles in Indonesia and Thailand, culminating in a grand finale in Malaysia by year end,” said Marcus Lim, General Manager of Drift Pac, the technical consultant of Formula Drift Asia that is in charge of the track layout, safety regulations and judging.

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The second and third part of the series has been tentatively set for July and September, with the exact dates to be confirmed later.

As the GIDS is a Formula Drift sanctioned event, the regulation Formula Drift technical inspection for the participating rides is mandatory and was held the day before. At the pinnacle of drifting, stringent safety and technical requirements are of the utmost importance and the rides that failed were unable to participate. Hopefully those that did get things sorted out by the next round.

One of those that unfortunately didn’t make the cut was Syed Zahiruddin’s pink phantom Nissan Cefiro A31. A cracked front windshield put paid to his chances in the first round. Rubbing salt into the wound, he managed to get a replacement that evening but after fitting the new windshield was he informed that it needed two days to set in. Talk about a kick in the nuts.

“Through Formula Drift, we were able to provide a safe and professional platform for both novices and experts to compete in, and to also obtain the Formula Drift Asia Pro license,” said Nasution Abdul Rahman, Managing Director of Goodyear Malaysia.

text: Dinesh Appavu  pix: Syafril Ismail & Dinesh Appavu

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