Stifling heat and the threat of storms weren’t enough to derail the action this past weekend as Formula DRIFT launched into Round 6 of the Pro Championship series and Round 3 of the Prospec series of tire-smoking drift events. The competition took place at World Wide Technology Raceway outside of St. Louis, MO, and the weather wasn’t the only unusual occurrence—collisions marred the Prospec rounds, while an underdog claimed the top spot in the Pro qualifying heats. Even so, more established competitors eventually battled their way to the top of the podium: American Mike Power took first place in Prospec and Norwegian Fredric Aasbo took first in Pro. Here’s a closer look at how the action played out.
Maybe the 93-degree temps got the better of the drivers, but whatever the cause, collisions took a serious toll in the Prospec heats. Qualifying round leader Christian Nelson hit a wall early in the competition round and had to throw in the towel after his team was unable to repair his Nissan 350Z in time for his next start. Eventual winner Mike Power also battled through collisions in his Nissan Silvia S15 throughout the event. His first run was against against third-placed Championship contender Austin Matta, and Power collided with him from behind. His team was able to utilize a five-minute timeout to repair the Nissan, and despite a sloppy second run, Power advanced to face Micah Diaz.
After a close match that went into a “One More Time” run, Power was given the nod in a split decision from the judges. Power then defeated the current Prospec points leader, Belarusian driver Dmitriy Brutskiy, and Steve Misko in the following rounds, and went on to face Canadian rookie Tommy Lemaire. Despite a near-flawless lead run from Lemaire, Power bested him in the second run and ultimately came away with the trophy.
“The car felt amazing and allowed me to be really aggressive,” Power said at the podium. “We’re going to take this momentum straight to Irwindale and hopefully get another trophy.”
An unexpected winner emerged from the Pro qualifying rounds: 2020 rookie Alex Robbins, who entered the weekend 20th in the standings, put together a near-flawless run to lead the field heading into competition. His luck ran out in the Final 8 round. He lost to Ryan Tuerck, the eventual second-place finisher.
Aasbo breezed through the Final 32 and Final 16 rounds, and faced his first serious threat in the Final 8 in 2013 Formula DRIFT champion Michael Essa. They battled through two close runs and the judges requested One More Time. In that decisive third run, Essa spun out, and Aasbo was able to drive away into the next round.
He then bested 2020 FD Pro Champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. and lined up against his Papadakis Racing teammate Tuerck. Tuerck hit a wall on the first run, and Aasbo notched a clean second run, giving the Norwegian the victory—his first since the 2020 Irwindale Final. With another trophy in hand, Aasbo remained in third place in the FD Pro standings but closed to within 33 points of the current leader, Matt Field.
“It was an insane night in St. Louis and I feel we got gifted a lot of rounds,” said Aasbo after the event. “We’re also getting closer to the championship lead, and it’s going to be a thriller going to the team’s home course in California.”
Next up, the drivers head to California: The city of Long Beach will host Round 7 of the Formula DRIFT Pro Championship on Sept. 17–18.
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