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Final Fight

September 23-24th saw the epic conclusion to the 2017 Irish Drift Championship and a return to a favourite venue of the fans and drivers – Mondello Park.

Still high on his success at the British Drift Championship; Matt ‘Doorhunter’ Carter caught the early morning ferry over to the Emerald Isle to join forces with the team and IDC dark horse Shane ‘Sully’ O’Sullivan.

Practice began early and both Shane and Matt wasted no time in getting out there to familiarise themselves and their cars with the tight and technical judged line around the Mondello circuit. Having overcome some last minute mechanical issues ahead of the BDC final only a week earlier it was clear to see those issues were far behind and the JZ-powered S15 was on top form with Shane at the wheel.

Unfortunately things would not go so smoothly for the Doorhunter as mechanical issues would see him pull out of the practice session. However quick turn-around from the team ensured he was back in the game ahead of the main event the following day.

As competition day dawned the IDC grid took to a damp Mondello circuit for Qualifying. Building on his success during practice Shane O’Sullivan showed us all just how comfortable he has become with that new JZ power-plant as he crafted his way round judged line in a spectacular display of skill that would earn him 7th place qualifier.

Meanwhile having had little to no seat time since the mechanical gremlins which had plagued the 2017 BDC Champion during practice combined with a wetter than anticipated track meant Matt did not perform to his potential. As a result he knew he would have a hard fight ahead, qualifying in 30th position. Fortunately the track would quickly dry out as the day progressed.

Owing to the sheer number of competitors both Shane and Matt would face the trials of top 32 battles. First up and Shane came head to head with Garry Dunne. Shane knew he would have a tough battle ahead and it came as no surprise on his lead run to see Gary right on Shane’s tail into the first corner however only moments later Gary tried to push just that bit too hard which saw him dive towards the gravel as Shane carved his way onward and claiming a 10-0 advantage ahead of the 2nd run.

With the advantage already in hand Shane played things safe in his chase run, keeping proximity to Gary who made a phenomenal effort to claw back from his earlier gamble. A safe, clean performance from Shane ensured he took victory and advanced to the top 16.

Next up and Matt Carter was drawn up against Mitch Larner. High speed from the off and understeer from both drivers saw Mitch pull some ground as Matt gave chase hard in an attempt to pull some proximity in his chase run. Eager to give the Doorhunter a challenge Mitch pushed that bit too hard which ultimately saw a near miss as the Australian spins out towards the end of the run, handing the advantage to Mr Carter.

Keen to apply the pressure on his lead run Matt put in an immense performance with smoke filling the air from those Maxxis VR1 Tyres. However Mitch wasn’t going to give up easy – so much so barely an inch of daylight could be seen between them. Contact from Mitch ultimately sealed the decision ensuring Matt also made it through to the top 16.

Straight into the top 16 battles and Shane was matched against Oliver Evans. With both drivers playing things at least a little safer than before but providing an exhilarating spectacle for the gathered crowd; filling the air with tyre smoke and sound of screaming engines left the judges with a difficult decision. Fortunately for Shane the votes cast in his favour seeing him through to battle again in the top 8.

Meanwhile in the top 16 Matt found himself up against Driftworks driver Martin Richards. A battle of the R32 Skylines saw both drivers positively flying off the start line and into the first corner with Carter’s chase run. The tight, technical line played to Matt’s strengths leaving some ground for Martin to make up.

However the Driftworks driver was soon back on the case and applying the pressure leaving it anyone’s guess. A close call either way but the votes cast saw Matt Carter advance to the top 8 alongside his teammate.

The competition began to heat up as both Shane took the track to face Jack Shanahan in the top 8 battles. Both drivers had so far been on form all weekend and the crowd were treated to an impressive show of skill and perseverance. Unfortunately Jack would ultimately claim the victory; putting a premature end to Shane’s weekend.

Also through to the top 8 Matt Carter began to feel the pressure as he came up against Tomas Kiely. Eager to apply the pressure Matt pushed hard but would be met with equally fierce contest from Tomas and his 850bhp S14. A close call but ultimately one that would not end in Matt’s favour; as Tomas was awarded the victory and so with it an end to Matt’s weekend.

All at Team Japspeed would like to congratulate James Deane, Jack Shanahan and Tomas Kiely for taking podium at the event. Congratulations also go to Jack Shanahan on taking the IDC 2017 title.

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