Calvin Clarke took pole position for the third round of the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship Pro-Sport Series after a second run countback gave the Nissan Laurel drifter top spot over John O’Gorman.
Series front runner O’Gorman laid down his marker as the second qualifier in the session. He went straight to the top on a 68.5-point run. The following 10 drivers couldn’t come usurp the Nissan Silvia S15 slider, until Mitch Gibbs came and blew the field away.
Gibbs reset the benchmark on a 79-point run, which put him head and shoulders above the rest. Unfortunately for him, Calvin Clarke just pipped him with an 81.5-point run to cement him at the top of the field.
The run by Gibbs was a welcomed return to form for the Rocket Bunny drifter who crashed heavily at round one of the series at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium.
The focus then shifted to Ching Jin for his first run, as he took his V8-powered ‘Boss’ Nissan Silvia S14 through the first turn. Jin initiated strongly, but he got caught out on an overly aggressive switch, which saw the Chinese drifter spin.
Jared Coombes’ first run around the stadium circuit looked strong initially. He ran quick through the first sector, and was fortunate to get away with a spin after crossing the finish line.
Another series front runner, Blair Gribble-Bowring, made a strong impression on Clarke’s lead. A run of 75.5-points put him third.
Ian McSheen put on a show for the Baypark Stadium crowd as he poured massive clouds of smoke from the rear of his rotary powered Datsun, aptly named Rotang Datsun. He scored a 77-point run with his line through turn one the only compromise in what was a run full of style and angle.
Bruce Tannock put in a strong banker run of 70.5-points, which put him sixth after the first run through.
The second run through saw O’Gorman stretch his legs and take his Nissan Silvia S15 to the equal top of the order with an 81.5-point score.
Having sat eighth after his first run, Josh Smith was looking to pick up some more places in his second run. He powered hard through turn one with a quick flick of his C33 Nissan Laurel into turn two. His run came to an end abruptly though when he spun entering the final corner.
After spinning in his first run young 15-year-old Liam Honnor completed his second run. In the field of 40-cars, Honnor needed to qualify 32nd or better. However, in what had proved to be a tough and tightly contested field, he only qualified 36th.
Mitch Gibbs’ second run was poor and after half spinning into the penultimate corner he laid down a rolling burnout to signal his qualifying end.
The surprise result of qualifying came from Cody Pullen-Burry who sat fourth heading into the third round of the series. He set an initial benchmark of only 59-points, which he failed to back up as he spun into the first switch. The spin put him 19th overall by the end of proceedings.
Calvin Clarke couldn’t improve on his 81.5-point run, however, with a run of 73.5-points versus O’Gorman’s of 68.5-points, Clarke took provisional pole position for Saturday’s top-32 battles.
The remaining battles brought no major change to the order, which handed Clarke pole position for the Pro-Sport Series.
The third round of the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship takes place over February 24-25 at ASB Baypark Stadium, with tickets available on the gate or through iTicket.co.nz.
D1NZ Pro-Sport Series round three qualifying result (provisional):
1. Clavin Clarke — 81.5-points
2. John O’Gorman —81.5-points
3. Mitch Gibbs — 79-points
4. Ian McSheen — 77-points
5. Blair Gribble-Bowring — 75.5-points
6. Jordy Cole — 75-points
7. Michael Thorley — 74-points
8. Bruce Tannock — 70.5-points
9. Tulley Puckey — 70-points
10. Jared Anderson — 69.5-points