DREW DONOVAN CLAIMS FIRST D1NZ WIN
After missing round one in Wellington, series veteran Drew ‘ Doni D’ Donovan came in hot at his home-town round in Tauranga to claim his first win within the Link ECU D1NZ National Drifting Championship. Having competed in the series nearly six years, Drew came into the battles after qualifying 18th and took out ‘Philthy’ Phil Sutherland to progress into the top 16.
There, he was met by second-place qualifier Vincent Langhorn, who would wheel drop on the teardrop and not fare well for the rest of the battle, handing a win to Drew. From there, Drew would face round-one winner Matty Hill, in the top eight, with Matty spinning on his chase run after ‘one more time’ was called. Drew would go on to beat three-time drift king Gaz Whiter, who struggled with temp-cut issues. This put Drew into the final for a home-town hero battle royal between him and Cole Armstrong — and it wouldn’t come without controversy.
Cole had shown all night why he deserved to take the win, and the pair battled hard through the first run, with Cole ahead of Drew. The judges called it an even run, due to an equal number of mistakes. It wasn’t until the second run that controversy hit the night, after Drew spun in the lead position on the exit of the teardrop loop, following a contact from Cole. It wasn’t clear at the time what had happened and where the decision might fall, with many members of the crowd declaring Cole the winner; it appeared that the pair thought the same when returning to the start line.
However, up in the judges’ tower, there was no sign of advantage either way and, with no conclusive evidence to attribute blame, a ‘one more time’ was called.
The final runs were clean — really clean — and it wasn’t until after the judges had spent considerable time reviewing replays that it was determined that Drew’s line was a more accurate and slightly better one than Cole’s in both the lead and the chase.
The win puts Drew into championship contention, despite his missing the first round, and he tells us that it puts him into serious consideration for pursuing the title.
The D1NZ National Drifting Championship picks up again at Timaru International Motor Raceway, Timaru, over March 9–10.