The second round of any championship is an important. If you had a great first round, than the plan would be to keep the momentum going in the championship and rack up more points. If the first round was not quite you had hoped, then now is the time to start your championship charge.
VicDrift would return to the National Circuit at Calder Park Raceway for the 2nd round of their 2021 Championship. This layout would be in the reverse direction of the circuit, heading up the hill before shooting down into turn 3 & 2, then sliding around the turn 1 hairpin before finishing at the entry to turn 1.
Only a handful of the drivers had run on this layout previously, so it would be critical to set the car up right and get as much track time as possible, because this layout would take no prisoners.
The first switchback right and left hander would be where the action would be. When the cars come over the rise, the rear would tend to lift, meaning weight and thus grip would be reduced on the rear tires. This had the tendency to unsteady he car and make it difficult for the drivers to control and drift consistently from the entry of the right hander and out of the switchback.
The straight before the hairpin could be used for the chase drivers to catch up to the lad if they were behind. The judges would also be looking for a tight angled slide through the hairpin. Be too wide and you could loose marks. There would be a lot of criteria for the judges to pour over, and this would become apparent later in the day.
At the end of everyone's two qualifying runs, Jason Ferron would take the top qualifier in his back up 'Keep it Reet' Skyline R34. Scott Massari would qualify 2nd in his white Nissan Onevia, Nathan Beasleigh 3rd in his purple Nissan S13 and Cam Marton would round ouy the top for in his RB26 powered R33 sedan.
With only 23 drivers ending up making a qualifying run, quite a few drivers would have by-runs , including the likes of the top four qualifiers and Moe and Khudr Elhaouli in their LS-swapped smoke machines.
Most notably, Jason Heydon would beat Kobe Miseki in the top 32 as Miseki flew off into the dirt at the start of his lead run. And after more front end woes throughout the day and barely any track time, Ben Venni would make contact into the side of Alex Kantarovski, causing both drivers to go off. Kantarovski would end up winning that battle to progress into the Top 16.
As the light became harsher at the south-end of the circuit, Jason Ferron would knock out hard charging Jason Heydon whilst Moe Elhaouli would chase down and Ben Loft to progress into the top 8, in what would be his first competition drift event in 1 and 1/2 years.
In the battle of the BMW's Mike Lake would beat David Andrews, after a commanding lead run, and both drivers losing control at the start of the switchback.
Jia Pu would get his rear bumper ripped off (when is Jia's bumper ever on during a whole event?) whilst being chased by Nathan Beasleigh. Jia would eventually win that battle to progress into the Top 8.
To start off the Top 8, there would be a juicy battle between championship leader Justin Gruener and Top Qualifier Jason Ferron. Drama would ensue when Gruener hit the back of Ferron's car whilst doing the switchback, and after an anxious 5-minute mechanical wait to check over Gruener's car, Ferron would knock him out of the running to progress into the top 4.
Another heavy hitter would fail to make it into the top 4, Cam Marton would be knocked out by Alex Kantarovski. Moe Elhaouli would beat the hard charging Scott Massari with a door-to-door chase run, whilst a determined Mike Lake would weather multiple re-runs in his battles to also make it into the Top 4.
However, this would be as far as Mike Lake could go as he was plagued with mechanical issues prior to his battle with Moe Elhaouli. Regardless, a 4th place would be a personal best result.
Now however, it would be Alex Kantarovski's turn to attempt and shake off Mr Keep it Reet Ferron. An uncharacteristic mistake by Ferron would see him off into the dirt before the switchback, leaving Alex Kantarovski to make a faultless run to live to fight for the win.
It would all come down to this. Alex Kantarovksi, who had been lightning fast and consistent all day, versus the quiet achiever in Moe Elhaouli. After a close door to door first run by both, the judges requested a re-run. This final run determined the winner, but the judges weren't unanimous.
After a long discussion, Moe Elhaouli was crowned the winner, just pipping Alex Kantarovski in the judging criteria.
After Round 2, the 2021 VicDrift Championship Top Ten are as follows:
1. Justin Gruener (Skyline R33) 162.5 pts
2. Jason Ferron (Skyline R33/R34 Sedan) 154.5 pts
3. Cam Marton (Skyline R33 Sedan) 140 pts
4. Alexsander Kantarovski (Nissan S15) 134 pts
5. Moe Elhaouli (Silvia S13) 104.5 pts
6. Jia Pu (Nissan 370Z) 103.5 pts
7. Aaron Gorton (Skyline R31 Wagon) 87.5 pts
8. Ben Venni (Holden Commodore) 83.5 pts
9. Mike Lake (BMW E36) 80.5 pts
10. Warwick Fitzgerald (Mazda MX-5) 71.5 pts
Click here for full VicDrift Championship leaderboard.