Falken-sponsored Driver Justin Pawlak finishes in 5 th place
LONG BEACH, CA – Falken Tire, a two-time manufacturer's champion in Formula Drift, had a strong field of drivers at last weekend's Formula Drift season debut on the street of Long Beach, and of the seven tire manufacturers competing, had seven entries – the second highest number of vehicles – qualify for the Top 32.
Thirty-eight teams entered Round One at the Long Beach Grand Prix, with Formula D a part of three weeks of racing at the veteran street course. Qualifying fifth was Justin Pawlak, a long-time Falken-sponsored driver, followed by crowd favorite Daijiro “Dai” Yoshihara in 9 th and Tyler McQuarrie in 11 th . Patrick Goodin rounded out the quartet of Falken-sponsored teams competing at Long Beach, earning 13 th in qualifying, followed by Falken associate teams Patrick Mordaunt, Nate Hamilton and Matt Coffman in 18 th , 28 th and 32 nd , respectively.
The evening belonged to Fredric Aasbo, who won the Long Beach event, defeating Aurimas Bakchis. Falken drivers had good rounds, with Coffman defeating Forest Wang, the #1 qualifier, while Pawlak bested former two-time Formula D Champ Tanner Foust. When the night was over, McQuarrie earned Falken's top ranking with 6 th place, followed by Mordaunt in 8 th ; Pawlak in 10 th ; Yoshihara, 11 th ; Coffman, 16 th ; Goodin, 19th; and Hamilton, 30 th .
As expected, a capacity crowd cheered on all drivers, experiencing the rush from the popular series as the cars drifted through the tight corners of Long Beach. The excitement of the young season was evident among Falken's drivers throughout the two-day event.
“Falken remains committed to continually advance the durability and grip of its AZENIS line of tires,” said Jonathan Bradford, Falken's Manager of Motorsports and Events. “We've had a long, successful relationship with Formula Drift, and intend on maintaining our presence in this important sport. The AZENIS RT615K tire used by all seven drivers at Long Beach – and throughout this season – is extremely balanced for this street course and obviously, for many of today's sports cars, performance compacts and sedans. It is available in 21 sizes, from 14- to 18-inch.”
Round 2 of the 2015 Formula Drift Championship will take place May 8-9 when drivers will head to Braselton, GA for the “Road to the Championship” at Road Atlanta. The 45-year-old legendary racetrack was home to the inaugural Formula D event back in 2004. The schedule for this year's racing events can be found at: www.formulad.com/schedule