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Poland Apart

In the spirit of breaking the mould and playing a key part in driving arguably the fastest growing motorsport in the world further than before it is fair to say the venue list for the 2018 Drift Masters Grand Prix contains a few surprises – perhaps none are more surprising than the MotoArena in Toruń. Normally accustomed to hosting motorcycle speedway events and pop concerts this unique stadium is not what you might consider an ideal venue for a drift event.

Which is why the DMEC team simply laid new tarmac over the football pitch ready for a weekend of tyre-smoking, adrenaline pumping action from the world’s best in the sport (drifting that is - not football).

Among the grid of fierce competition Matt ‘Doorhunter’ Carter headed out to represent the UK once more. Having collected his car from storage Matt and the team arrived late Thursday afternoon with enough time to setup and carry out a few last-minute checks ahead of the open practice session the following day.

Set to be one of the most intense circuits of the series so far the Toruń track was fully enclosed within concrete walls. Featuring an epic banked corner and plenty of opportunity for some serious wall-riding it was clear from the outset every driver would need to keep their wits about them to conquer this beast.

While freshly laid tarmac might seem like a good thing it would also mean this virgin blacktop wasn’t as grippy as a number of the drivers were clearly accustomed to. Open practice saw a number of competitors including Matt ensnared by the tyre wall as the level of grip on track simply failed them early on.

As the session progressed and more rubber was laid down, grip levels increased significantly which began to benefit the grid as a whole – with increasing grip each driver put in lap after lap that looked more like drifting and less like ice skating than his/her last.

As he became more familiar with the layout and grip levels increased Matt soon found some tweaks were required to the Skyline’s diff ratio. The decision was made to adjust the ratio only moments before the start of qualifying.

With the new setup dialled in Matt headed straight out for his 1st qualifying run. A great start gave Matt a huge confidence boost and the car was performing noticeably better than during practice however it wasn’t long before disaster struck and an unforeseen mechanical issue caused the Skyline to cut out mid-run.

Quick to respond, the team rectified the fault and Matt was soon ready to take on his 2nd qualifying lap. Having scored a 0 on his previous run Matt put everything on the line and pushed hard; making the most of the new setup. This single, do or die run earned Matt a score of 76 points and 30th overall in qualifying. The team retired ahead of the top 32 battles taking place the next day.

“Saturday practice and the tyre wall carried on pulling people in; writing a good number off a good number of cars. We pushed harder and harder; getting stronger run after run.”

-Matt ‘Doorhunter’ Carter
Team Japspeed

Heading into the top 32 battles Matt came face to face with local superstar Pawel Trela in his 860bhp Opel GT ‘Maybug’. With around 150bhp less than his opponent, Matt knew he would have to push hard to keep up the pace in his chase run. Both drivers keen to claim the advantage the 1st run couldn’t be much more closely contested and the battle was anyone’s guess as Matt took to the line for his chase run.

Leading on run 2 Matt had quickly turned from the hunter to the hunted as Pawel pinned the Opel to the door of Matt’s Skyline. Eager to run a clean line as quickly as possible Matt knew it would be nearly impossible to break away from his native competitor. Despite an incredible spectacle a slight misstep from Matt would see him deducted crucial points in an exceptionally close battle; ultimately costing him the win.

Everyone at Team Japspeed would like to wish congratulations to James Deane, Pawel Trela and Pawel Borkowski on taking podium at this event. The Doorhunter will be coming back stronger than ever as the series heads to Hockenheim, Germany in 3 weeks’ time.

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