It was every man for himself in the Wild West as Piotr Wiecek overcame teammate James Deane in an all-Worthouse finale at Texas Motor Speedway. The Quaife QBE69G-equipped Nissan Silvias were also on top form…
As the penultimate round of the 2018 Formula Drift championship rolled into Dallas, Texas, the Worthouse team would have to overcome storms, high winds, rainfall, mechanical problems and the entire Formula Drift roster in order to see both Piotr and James atop the podium at this crucial stage in the 2018 season.
In qualifying, Piotr would strike first, scoring a strong 95 point run, before James would answer with a 97 point lap. Following heavy storms and a break in proceedings, Piotr’s second run in the wet netted him another 95, with James beating his first at 98 points. James took top qualifier and a bye into the Top 16, while Piotr secured third place.
Piotr’s main event got off to a shaky start, with Kevin Lawrence forcing him into a One More Time in the Top 32 before Piotr found his form when chasing, moving to the Top 16.
With points close in the championship, every battle would count for James at this stage. In the Top 16, he would face Ken Gushi; a driver with potential to upset the balance. James put down a fast lead run, with Gushi sacrificing a bit of angle to stick with him. James chased in run two, putting on a smoother but equally close chase run to Gushi’s, and booking his place in the Great 8.
Piotr’s Top 16 opponent would be Falken Tire stablemate Matt Field. The two had never battled before and, in the first pair of runs, both drivers probed to find each others driving style, necessitating a One More Time. In the re-match, Piotr led first with a fast and aggressive line, while Field narrowly avoided a collision with the tyre wall on the final turn. Switching places, Piotr’s chase run was textbook, pushing hard to stick with Field’s Corvette. The judges reach a unanimous decision – Piotr joined James in the Great 8.
As night fell, James’s next opponent was Formula Drift veteran Daijiro Yoshihara. James led into battle, laying down plumes of smoke after the third clipping point, engulfing Yoshihara’s car and causing the Japanese driver to miscalculate the final bend. On run two, James maintained close proximity throughout – Yoshihara’s mistake in run one was enough to gift James a place in the Semi Finals.
Back on the other side of the bracket, Piotr’s route to the Semi Finals would involve overcoming Vaughn Gittin Jr and his imposing Ford Mustang RTR-D. Piotr’s lead run was on the qualifying line and he wasn’t phased by Gittin’s headlamps bearing down on him, although Gittin’s final bend was shallow and off-line. Following a competition time out by Gittin, they lined up again – Piotr chased and Gittin just couldn’t shake him off. Piotr was on a mission, and was rewarded with a place in the Semi Finals too.
As one Worthouse car exited the track, another entered. It was a big battle for James, as his penultimate opponent would be his main competitor for the championship – Fredric Aasbø. This battle would set the stage for the final round in Irwindale. James led first, initiating with aggression and reaching all of the judge’s clipping zones. Aasbø chased, but didn’t put huge pressure on the Worthouse driver. They switched places and James pursued the Norwegian; James left but a hair’s width between the cars as the crowd erupted in applause. James had put it all on the line and it payed off – he was in the Finals!
With James defeating one half of the bracket, only Chelsea Denofa would stand in the way of Piotr doing the same. Piotr’s lead run was consistent as always; the Worthouse driver having truly found his feet in the series and establishing himself as a crowd favourite. Denofa’s chase was close, but perhaps not as smooth as he would have liked. As they lined up again, Piotr chased Denofa, not giving him an inch. As Denofa dialled on the angle, Piotr matched him blow-for-blow. It was written in the stars – Piotr was in the Finals against his Worthouse teammate!
An all-Worthouse Final is a dream come true for Piotr, James and the entire team. Contrary to belief, even at this crucial stage in the season there are no team orders, with both drivers positioned to fight fairly for the win. This would be the fourth round in a row this season where James and Piotr would meet, but the first time ever in the Finals! As the two Worthouse cars lined up at the start-line, the crowds illuminated the bleachers with their phone torches – the Finals in Texas were on!
As the higher qualifier, James led first. The two cars and drivers were so well matched that Piotr’s chase angle mimicked James’s almost exactly. Piotr maintained close proximity to James, following his line throughout and over the finish line. They switched places and Piotr took the lead. In turn one, Piotr initiated and James followed; however, suddenly James’s rear differential suffered a major failure, causing the car to straighten out and ending James’s chances. It wasn’t the toe-to-toe battle either had hoped for, but Piotr filled the arena with celebratory smoke as he finished the run solo. Piotr Wiecek took the victory for the Worthouse Drift Team in Texas!
Piotr enthused, “Wow! Since we first decided to come to Formula Drift, the dream was always to finish on the top of the podium beside my friend and teammate James. I cannot believe that it has actually happened. It might not always look like it from the outside, but this season has been tough fighting with some mechanical issues. Our team has worked so hard to keep us in this position. Thank you so much to everyone that supports us”.
With just one round left in the 2018 championship, it all comes down to the finals at Irwindale Speedway, California on October 12-13th. James leads Fredric Aasbø by just 49 points for the title, with Piotr just 87 points behind James! It’s truly down to the wire, as any of the three can take the championship in California, and every single point counts. This is one series finale that you won’t want to miss!
Learn more about the Quaife QBE69G 6-Speed Sequential that powers the cars of Team Worthouse:
- Heavy-duty 90mm shaft centres
- Wide straight cut or helical gears
- Used extensively in high horsepower circuit racing and drifting
- Built in oil pump
- Choice of gear levers
- Optional air actuator for paddleshift
- Large range of fitment packages to suit older and modern engines
- Choice of ratios
- Ground gears available for certain ratio choices
- Heavy duty tail with needle roller bearings and sliding prop flange
- 3-piece case for easy maintenance
- Available from £7,395.00 + VAT & Shipping