Part 1: I’m back home.
We like drifting. Watching two cars sliding so close together, inside a cloud of smoke is something that provokes in us an indescribable sensation of pleasure. When I see the cars arrive, paired, at a colossal speed and rush with a flick to the next clipping point, keeping the line simultaneously, while the supporters shout and clap, the cars come in front of me with the front wheels on full lock and the rear wheels screaming and vanishing into the background in a massive white cloud, flat out in third, my heart beats a lot harder and I just can yell, breath the burnt rubber and wait until I calm down, and in that moment the next battle should have already begun and the process goes on and on and on. That’s why I always say that the racetrack is my second home and a drift event is like having a party. Even more if I come surrounded by friends.
A lot of people like coming to this events with super expensive cameras to practice their skills, I come armed with a notebook and a pen, and behind my sunglasses my eyes are wide open. It’s the only way to not miss a thing and be able to tell it later. I really wanted to do it this way again, so I’m back in the team where I started to do this, so you can feel again the excitement you feel just behind the Armco barriers or even inside the car, and so the people who didn’t come will re-think better next time, and the grandstands will be full of people, and car culture will reach my generation. For that people, who want to know what happened and how it felt, here I tell it to you.
Part 2: Saturday and a legendary layout
Two rounds instead of one. We almost didn’t have time to rest, we always had track action. And we are thankful for that. People were ready for everything, drivers from all over Europe came to fight for an amazingly equaled championship with perfectly built and fine tuned machines. It was time for the Spanish drivers to check what they have learnt during the year and face on it. There I discovered that the real enemy the drivers had to face were not the other drivers, but the track.
On Saturday, the layout was the same as last year. Maybe this year the variety of drivers proved in front of me how treacherous can be the selected route. The “fans corner”, the fastest of the Moto GP layout, was the start of the drift zone, and the drivers had to hold it through a long straight and a left hander, with a run off area that many drivers tested as the weekend went on. Then came a very long S and with an outer clipping point they had to close the line on a right hander that should be taken on the outer lane. The trouble with this layout is that the inertia is very important, and if you lose it it’s easy to see if the lap was good or bad, because you will lose the drift, and it’s better to have soft slow transitions instead of hardcore ones, especially if you don’t have that much power.
In those transitions some Spanish drivers shined, like Joan Caballer or Santi López, with surprisingly awesome flicks in the qualifying. Another acclaimed driver was Calin Ciortan with his BMW E30 S54 Turbo, a Gatebil worth machine with a very spectacular style. David Infantes also came with a lot of energy, but he had to surrender to his LS engine while battling against Baggsy, who came a bit softer than what we are used to see from him.
But the real winner, who amazed us with a clean, very European style and a perfect line was Amerigo Monteverde. The Italian driver took the trophy home, after some exciting battles against Adam Kerenyi and Norbert Kovacik. As he told us later, this was his first King of Europe victory, after just 6 years since his debut. We shared the celebration with a photoshoot that will be posted very soon. The podium was completed with Norbert Kovacik second and Adam Frank third.
Part 3: a Sunday to remember
On Sunday the layout became slower, two chicanes were added. Adam Kerenyi told us that the rhythm was completely different, and so you didn’t need that much power to complete a solid run. The battles therefore would be more equaled and the skills of the drivers was more important than the brute force.
In qualifying I would like to point Jonathan Hernandez, nicknamed Perrako. The Drifting Barcelona’s driver is getting used to his new LS powered BMW, and that is shown on the track. However, the best qualifier was Szilveszter Gyorgy. With one of the most spectacular runs of the weekend, and a perfect line, just won the crowd and also took first place. Spanish driver Atila also improved his pace and Calin Ciortan seemed more confident with his E30 Turbo.
But the greatest winner of the day was Joan Caballer. Getting compliments from international media, he seemed to have very clear in his mind where the clipping points were, and he just followed that line, qualifying eighth just in front of Adam Frank, who had problems with his steering pump.
Caballer was then launched in an unstoppable climb to the top when he defeated first Pepe from Ira Performance and his V8 S14 and he won in a hard battle against the championship leader on that moment, Adam Frank with his 1.000 horsepower, 2JZ powered E46. Szilveszter Gyorgy, who had just defeated Arnau, was the next rival and after a 6-4 for him and another 6-4 for Caballer, the One More Time was forced. In that second attempt, Szilveszter went too wide into the sand and the supporters went mad. Caballer was in the Final Four.
Meanwhile Atila felt against Pedro Pessoa, after overtaking him by missing the line on his chase run. The Hountondji brothers also came very hard, both with V8s under the hood of a Galant nosed, S13 pickup and a BMW E30. Destiny forced them battling each other, and after doing that a thousand times, they put on an amazing proximity show we all enjoyed like children. Eli Hountondji went into the final with his E30, and Joe just could fight for third place.
Joan Caballer was then ready to take on Rick Van Goethen and his R33 Skyline. In his chase run, Van Goethen, looking after some proximity lost the drift and got a zero. Joan was in the final, it was a real dream. Unfortunately, a broken pipe put an end in his climb to the top of the European drifting, with the podium filled with Eli Hountondji first, Caballer second and Joe Hountondji the third, who defeated Van Goethen in the battle for the third spot.
If we talk about the pro category in the Spanish OSD series, Joan Caballer took the victory from Rodrigo Gallo and Arnau was third. The track then became a party where all the FG Performance team surrounded a speechless Joan Caballer, who just couldn`t find the words to express what he was feeling, but neither did we, let’s be honest, and we came back to Madrid with a smile as big as theirs.
And I, after a year working in another page I come back to write for this team, where I have no boss but just friends, and I just hope that drifting keeps growing even more, and our drivers will be able to battle against the best of Europe, and we will show the world that we can do things right, building good cars and drive them, the teams grow more and so does the media, and also the feelings I get from the track and Happiness is created. And I also get happy when I read your feedback, so feel free to share and comment this article, which is my first one I dare to post in English, so a lot of people will help supporting Spanish drifting. And that’s why we invite you to the final round of our championship, it will be in Los Arcos, October 10th and 11th. Meanwhile enjoy the pictures, fill the racetracks and share our passion. Big hugs to everyone and I’m glad to be back!