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The Demon D1NZ National Drifting Championship: Round 1 Manfield Raceway 04/10/2014.
Former Pro-Am class champion Darren Kelly claimed his first win in the D1 Pro class at the opening round of the 2014/15 Demon Energy Drink D1NZ National Drifting Championship at Manfeild on Saturday – and he did it in a borrowed car!
Kelly, from Auckland’s North Shore, capped off his debut year in the D1 Pro class last season with second place at the final round at Mt Smart. And in a weekend of upsets and competitors borrowing cars he ended up in the right place at the right time.
There was drama even before the battles. First, four-time and defending D1NZ champion Gary ‘Gaz’ Whiter was driving fellow Northlander Shaun Yearbury’s Nissan Laurel because his own car is on its way to Australia for the Formula Drift Asia round later this month.
Then, just as he was getting used to it in practice, Whiter and two-time former champ, Daniel ‘Fanga Dan’ Woolhouse collided, forcing Woolhouse out of his new Holden Commodore and into borrow rookie Ben Jenkins’ Nissan S13 for the battles.
Then it was Kelly’s turn, his own car breaking down, forcing him to borrow Pro-Am driver Gagan Singh’s Nissan Skyline R32.
Also in a borrowed car after problems with his own in qualifying was West Auckland’s Adam Hedges.
Kelly turned out to be the best in an unfamiliar car, though he didn’t have it exactly easy in his battles in the bitter cold and low grip conditions on Saturday.
Twice he had to go ‘One More Time’ (where battles are repeated if the judges can’t call a decisive winner first time out) before meeting – and this time beating – last season’s Mt Smart winner, Daynom Templeman, then fellow Aucklander Andrew Redward.
That left Redward second and Adam Hedges – driving Pro-Am class winner Troy Jenkins’ Nissan S15 – in a best ever finish in third.
Earlier in the day, as fans hunkered down against the blustery and very cold, albeit dry conditions, Jenkins battled his way to victory in the Pro-Am class after qualifying 11th.
To get into contention for the win Jenkins had to battle his way past Vincent Yates (OMT), Chad McKenzie, and Adam Davies. leaving new-face Mckenzie from Waitara to take on Joel Paterson from Hamilton for third.
Paterson got the nod from the judges in that battle with Mckenzie fourth.
Best local performance came from Feilding’s Jaron Olivecrona who qualified 12th and finished seventh in the Pro-Am class.
Wellingtonian Shayne Giles also top-scored in qualifying in the D1 Pro class but was bundled out of his first (Top 16) battle by Northland’s Joe Marshall.
The meeting was held in front of an enthusiastic crowd as well as being Livestreamed around the world for the first time with pickup in nine different countries.
Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium hosts the next (again, day/night) round of the 2014/15 Demon Energy Drinks D1NZ National Drifting Championship on November 7 (Friday) and 8 (Saturday).
2014/15 CODY’S D1NZ National Drifting Championship Series Rnd 1 Manfeild Feilding Fri-Sat Oct 03-04 2014
1. Darren Kelly – 110 points (Auckland, Nissan Skyline R34)
2. Andrew Redward – 94 points – (Auckland, Achilles Radial Mazda RX7 V8)
1. Troy Jenkins – 102 points (Auckland, Precision Wheels Nissan S15)
Future Demon D1NZ Nataional Championship dates:
Round 2: Fri-Sat Nov 07-08 2014 Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
Round 3: Sat-Sun Jan 17-18 2015 ASB Stadium Mount Maunganui
Round 4: Fri-Sat Feb 20-21- 2015 Hampton Downs
Round 5: Sat-Sun April 04-05 2015 (Easter) Mike Pero Motorsport Park (Ruapuna) Christchurch
Round 6: May 2015 Grand Final Auckland (venue tba)