Round 2 of the 2017 HEL Performance Driftcup took place last weekend at the Adrian Flux Arena in Kings Lynn.
The longest round of the year awaited the drivers with the track going live for practice at 10am, with the final battle taking place around 11 hours later.
The track layout was more demanding than previous years with a faster flick initiation onto clip one.
Continuing around the outside onto clip two and leading into clip tree as the drivers crossed the centre of the track before transitioning out clip four, again on a wide line.
This tightened up as the transitioned back into the middle before returning to the first corner in the opposite direction with the final clip keeping them wide until the finish line.
A few new drivers were entered for this round including Laura ‘Lozza’ Hinks in her R32 skyline and Dave Bastin in his AE86.
The morning practice session saw the drivers taking some time to get used to the track, it started out as a dusty surface but soon gained grip as it cleaned up with some rubber being left on the line.
Every practice run was a chance for the drivers to practice their battles, the unique setup of the track meant that the drivers would get a chance at a lead run and chase run each time before returning to the back of the queue.
This would give us a better chance to see who was on form throughout the practice session as drivers lined up to beat their friends and fellow competitors, mentally giving them the edge as the session continued.
Qualifying would see each driver get two consecutive attempts to impress the judges who were looking for the perfect line around the course holding a good speed and angle throughout.
Round 1 winner, Alistair Sutton, would take the top spot with a run of 88.7 on his second attempt.
Lee Lawrence would be close behind in second with a score of 87.0 with Phillip Hayden in third on 83.0.
The battles kicked off and during the Top 32 the light started to fade giving us a once a year chance to see the battles progress from daylight into the night. Tom Hutchinson made a great start to his day earning his way into the Top 16 after a one more time with Matt Fountain.
Ian Lonsdale was also on form with two strong runs against Tom Morgan, on the first run Ian would manage to overtake Tom whilst he was off line earning him the win and a place in the next stage of the battles.
Stuart Maclachlan was impressive on his chase runs in the morning practice session and this form continued through to the battles as he knocked out Chris Rayner from the competition.
The battle between Mike Jackson and Dave Jackson got everyone’s attention when Dave would hit and spin Mike whilst chasing, this was judged to be an error from Dave, handing Mike the place in the Top 16.
On the other side of the tree Laura Hinks battled Stuart Jones, a close battle followed before Laura would continue through to the Top 16.
Alistair Sutton almost didn’t make it past this stage of the competition with the judges needing to use all of the available One More Time’s against Tessa Whittock, before deciding in his favour.
William Hanna would be the last person to make it into the Top 16 after a great start to his battle with Michelle Westby, pulling a huge gap by half way around the track.
The Top 16 drivers lined up on track in front of the grandstand and took a minute to introduce themselves.
As the sun dipped below the horizon we kicked off the Top 16 with Tom Hutchinson beating Ian Lonsdale who unfortunately spun on the final corner.
Stuart Maclachlan would then beat Mike Jackson to progress into the Top 8.
On the other side of the tree we saw Phillip Hayden beat Laura Hinks after a close battle.
Alistair Sutton would also make it in to the Top 8 after his battle with William Hanna.
The competition was becoming more difficult each round of the battles but that didn’t faze Tom Hutchinson as the made it through his battle with Zanna Young and into the Final 4.
Stuart Maclachlan was looking like he was on a mission at this round as he also made his way into the Final 4 after this battle with Lisa Branch.
Phillip Hayden and Alistair Sutton would also progress into the Final 4, it was looking to be difficult for any one of these four drivers to take the top step of the podium.
Tom Hutchinson and Stuart Maclachlan lined up to decide who would progress into the final, Tom led first with a strong run with Stuart following close behind, they swapped over and Stuart pulled a small gap throughout the course as Tom tried to stay on his door. Stuart would be awarded the win and the place in the final.
Phillip Hayden would battle Alistair Sutton to see who would join Stuart in the final, Alistair led first with a very strong run before swapping over and keeping it pinned to Phillips door. It would be enough to see Alistair advance through to his second final from two events.
Tom Hutchinson would then earn the third place on the podium in his battle with Phillip Hayden before the final battle lined up at the start line.
Alistair led first as he was the higher qualifier but Stuart was determined, sticking it on his door from the very first clipping point.
On Stuart’s lead run a big flick on entry gave him a small gap over Alistair which would increase by the end of the run. Stuart had come out in a freshly rebuilt car and completed what he had planned to do, taking the win, celebrating on the top step of the podium in front of a large crowd of friends, family and fans.
The hard charger award would be presented to Tessa Whittock for her impressive driving throughout the day.
The team award went to Team ClutchKickNoLift.