Daigo Saito of Sparks Achilles Drift Team claimed the Achilles Formula Drift 2011 Malaysia title and clinched the overall Drivers' Champion in style at the Dataran Merdeka today, concluding the thrilling Achilles Formula Drift Series in Kuala Lumpur.
Daigo Saito's Altezza
It was the second consecutive year the Japanese emerged victorious in the Malaysian leg, and the 2011 series favourite proved too strong for the competition for another drift legend, compatriot Manabu Orido of Team RSR, who finished runners– up today. Saito took the lead in the first run, and Orido made an uncharacteristic spin going into the first clipping point.
Kiki Sak Nana, Daigo Saito, Manabu Orido and Robbie Nishida
Manabu Orido's RSR Supra
Saito only had to make sure he turned in an error-free performance in the second run, and the Japanese did not disappoint, much to the pleasure of the enthusiastic crowd. Today's victory saw Saito sweep the 2011 Achilles Formula Drift Series after winning the Singapore and Indonesian leg earlier this year.
Kiki Sak Nana of Red Bull Drift Team Thailand rounded off the top three of Achilles Formula Drift Malaysia 2011, after beating compatriot Chanatpon Kerdpiam in the third–fourth race.
However, it was the Malaysian drivers who drew the loudest cheers with the local drivers making the most out of the home support. In the Round of 32, Malaysia's Mervyn ´Nakamura´ Abdullah caused the biggest upset by defeating Thailand ace driver Non (Saranon Pornpatanarak), who was ranked second in the series coming into today´s competition. Mervyn reached the last eight before losing to Thailand's Chantpon Kerdpiam in a close battle that went into a rematch.
Another local favourite, Ser Ming Hui, also made it to the quarter finals before losing to eventual champion Saito.
Out of the 13 Malaysians who participated in the Malaysian Drift, 10 qualified into the round of 32, with Lim Zee King, Tan Tat Wei joining Ser Ming Hui and Mervyn Nakamura in the top 16 – a clear indication of the quality of Malaysian drifters.
However it was the Japanese contingent that once again demonstrated the difference with Daigo's near-flawless drifting. Orido, known for his stylish persona and cowboy hat, made his debut in Malaysia and the drifting legend surely gave the Malaysian crowd a real spectacle to behold.
Today´s finale also saw Sparks Achilles winning the overall Team Champion for the 2011 season, bolstered by Saito´s sweep over the Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia legs.