Having climbed the podium in the final round of the Irish Drift Championship less than 24 hours earlier Matt ‘Doorhunter’ Carter hoped to do the same as the 2018 DriftMasters European Championship took centre stage during the enormous JapFest show at Ireland’s Mondello Park.
High on his success from the day before, Matt Carter was full of confidence going into Qualifying. An enthusiastic start saw Matt attack the Kildare circuit with dedication and determination. A very strong performance showed the grid he was here to win; as he put on an incredible smoke-show from the Maxxis VR1 Tyres. A run 1 score of 84.3 points placed Matt in 3rd place overall.
Keen to build on his already strong position the doorhunter attacked the tarmac with a go hard or go home approach that saw him covering the arena in huge clouds of tyre smoke and waving to the crowd as he took home a run 2 score of 80 points. Qualifying 13th overall meant Matt was in a great position heading into the battles.
Top 32 battles and just as his teammate Shane ‘Sully’ O’Sullivan had done the day before Matt came face to face with Lithuanian driver Aurimas Vaskelis and his 760bhp BMW E30. Leading on run 1 Matt was keen to keep as much distance between himself and his rival as possible. While his plan worked for a little while it wasn’t long before Vaskelis was right up alongside the Japspeed R32. Unfortunately getting that bit too close caused the chase driver to make brief contact and subsequently drop back from the pursuit; handing the advantage to Matt as they lined up for the 2nd run.
With Vaskelis in the lead Matt jumped off the start line and made sure not to let his rival out of his sight. Matt kept the pressure on through the first section; causing Vaskelis to almost push two wheels off track. Undeterred Vaskelis put in an impressive run however Matt maintained his assault and as both drivers powered through the final section Matt gained so much ground as to tap the front bumper of Vaskelis’ car with the front wheel of the Japspeed R32. A unanimous decision propelled Matt through to the top 16.
To continue his campaign Matt once again had to take on the challenge presented by Conor Shanahan in the top 16 battles. Despite an extra 100bhp over his opponent this would be no easy task as the skill of the youngster combined with a tight and technical circuit ensured a level playing field. Chasing on run 1 the doorhunter kept the Japspeed R32 pinned to the side of Conor’s 180sx. Despite running a little wide in places Matt kept the pressure on throughout the run leaving the competition wide open as they lined up for run 2.
True to form Matt charged through the course on his lead run initially leaving his rival with some catching up to do from the start line. A strong performance from both drivers kept the audience guessing throughout. However a short deliberation from the judges put Matt through to the great 8.
Matt’s next challenge came in the great 8 battles as he came head to head with Irish driver Paul McCarthy. Chasing on run 1 Matt lived up to his name as he launched into the attack; keeping the Japspeed R32 up close and personal with the door of his rival. An exhilarating spectacle saw Matt keep the pressure on throughout the run leaving everything to play for as Matt and Paul lined up for run 2.
Tensions ran high as Matt and Paul fired from the start line into the first initiation. Unfortunately disaster chose just this moment to strike Matt Carter; as a mechanical issue with the R32 left Matt with no choice but to halt proceedings; allowing his rival to fly past, taking the advantage and the place in the top 4 with him.
Team Japspeed would like to congratulate James Deane, Adam Zalewski and Paul McCarthy on taking podium at this event.