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Baptism of Fire

Tuesday 5th June 2018 saw the start of a long week for Matt ‘Doorhunter’ Carter ahead of the opening round of Drift Masters Grand Prix.

With less than 24hrs to go before boarding the ferry to the continent Matt and the team at Garage-D worked through the night and well into the early hours to make sure everything was ready for the upcoming challenge – including more than a few hours testing on the rolling road.

Satisfied with their thorough checks the team loaded up and embarked on the 3hr drive to catch a ferry on the Dover-Calais crossing and a chance to catch up with some much needed sleep. The rest was short-lived however as a mammoth 20hr drive saw Matt and the team trudge their way through continental Europe, arriving at the Kazimierz Gorski Stadium in Plock, Poland just after midnight on the Wednesday.

Working on a few more hours sleep the team wasted no time in setting up on the Thursday morning, ready for practice at midday. Practice came and Matt got his first look at the line he would be expected to match. Unlike anything before seen in the UK drift scene the Polish circuit contained no less than 13 transitions (unlucky for some) as well as a countless number of walls.

“The track did not disappoint - with 13 transitions, many clipping points and walls to run I needed a satnav to find my way around”

-Matt ‘Doorhunter’ Carter
Team Japspeed Driver

Practice went well and spirits were high as Matt quickly found the judged line and it was clear the hard-work from everyone involved had paid off. With everything prepared the team could rest ahead of the main event on Friday.

Loaded up with a fresh set of Maxxis VR1 Tyres, Matt was keen to get out on track for P1. Unfortunately a series of incidents would mean Matt and 5 other drivers wouldn’t be able to complete a run safely. P2 came around and Matt put in a pair of fantastic runs despite the 30°C heat and layers of rubber being laid down over the course of the day. Suffering from a little too much grip in practice, the team dialled out some of the extra grip from the car’s setup ready for the 1st qualifying session.

Unlike the weather conditions we normally expect here in the UK it soon became apparent that Matt’s Skyline was not coping well with the heat. Despite some mechanical gremlins Matt pushed hard. Unfortunately straightening on his first qualifying run meant Matt found himself in a do-or-die situation going into Q2.

Having not trekked across the continent to play things safe; the team added a made some last minute tweaks to fine-tune the car’s setup. Matt laid it all on the line and put on an incredible performance - nearing the end of the run Matt was sitting in 2nd place overall in Qualifying. All he had to do was make the last corner.

True to his do-or-die style Matt chucked the car sideways however with the sun setting and the grip levels on track dropping rapidly; Matt soon realised he had pushed too hard as the tyre wall caught hold of the back end of the car causing Matt to straighten and bring a premature end to his weekend.

Disappointed with the result Matt and team took the opportunity to relax on Saturday and watch what is rapidly becoming known as the best (and perhaps most challenging) drift championship in the world.

Everyone at Team Japspeed would like to congratulate Conor Shanahan, James Deane and Tor Arne Kvia on taking podium at this event. We can’t wait for round 2 in Hungary in just under 2 weeks time.

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