Drifting season gets underway!

Despite the rain and cold temperatures in Montmagny, Quebec, there were plenty of enthusiasts on hand for the first round of the 2013 Drift Mania Canadian Championship (DMCC).

On Saturday, it was practice time for both Pro and Pro Am drivers, some of whom were trying to get more familiar with a brand new car and particularly the very technical course set up by the judges. Qualifying followed in late afternoon.

New qualifying rules
The game has changed for 2013. Drawing inspiration from the Formula Drift Championship in the U.S., the organizers are now determining the top 8 after the first qualifying session, which consists of a single lap, one driver at a time. This way, contenders must give their best shot right off the bat.

The old formula that used only the best of two laps encouraged some to drive conservatively during the first lap in order to secure points. Drivers were automatically given a zero for spinning their car, putting two wheels off the track, hitting a cone, or not maintaining a drift.

What happens now is that the second lap allows those who didn’t get a high enough score in their first attempt to improve their result. Even if their second score trumps one of the initial top 8, the latter won’t be affected.

Thiffault, Langlois top qualifiers
In the Pro Am Class, Martin Langlois finished first, followed by Michel Pelchat and Gonzalo Diaz. Alexandre Blanchette (4th) and Jonathan Guitard (5th) also shined in their DMCC debut. Only nine drivers managed to qualify for the main event, which effectively became a top 9.

With a score of 90.5%, Jonathan Thiffault topped all other qualifiers in the Pro Class. Rounding out the top 5 were Francis Tassé, Pat Cyr, Jeff Laflamme, and Tanner Munson.

Unfortunately, Minnesota’s Mike Pollard could not advance due to a faulty transmission. Meanwhile, Dominic Desrosiers suffered engine problems after qualifying in 13th place.

In a surprising twist, defending champ Marc Landreville’s engine broke down during the morning practice, but his good friend Jonathan Guitard agreed to share his own car to allow him to take part in the qualifying session. As per the rules, Landreville had to use that same Toyota Soarer for the Sunday competition.

Pro Am Class

Martin Langlois hit the wet track first with his purple Nissan 240SX. The partly dry, partly slippery conditions gave the drivers a lot to handle. Gonzalo Diaz, who was making a comeback after participating in the 2010 championship, could not crack the top 4.

The season’s first “One More Time” involved Alexandre Blanchette and Youri Lévesque, with the former doing just enough to earn the $750 prize for a third place.

The two finalists had to complete six laps before the judges could crown a winner, namely Michel Pelchat. Martin Langlois had to settle for second place.

Pro Class
Mother Nature proved more kind to Pro drivers, allowing them to burn lots of rubber and shroud the fans with a thick cloud of smoke. The top 16 was marked by some heated battles and required at least one “One More Time” for half the duels.

During the top 8, Jonathan Thiffault violently drove off the track, and fortunately came away uninjured. Maxim Lemoine, driving a Chevrolet truck, took on his childhood idol, Ontario’s Pat Cyr. The latter impressed and advanced to the top 4, where he narrowly beat Éric Paradis.

Cyr then went on to earn the $10,000 first-place prize after he and Landreville put on quite a show. Don’t miss our photo gallery for all the highlights.

The next round (Pro Class only) will take place at Autodrome St-Eustache on June 29th.

Pro Am Class results
1- Michel Pelchat
2- Martin Langlois
3- Alexandre Blanchette
4- Youri Lévesque

Pro Class results
1- Pat Cyr
2- Marc Landreville
3- Éric Paradis
4- Bob Patinka

Source : www.auto123.com

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