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Riga, Baby

Having already rocked the drifting world with rounds 1 and 2; the team behind DriftMasters Grand Prix raised the bar for competitive drifting once again last weekend as the series arrived in Latvia – the iconic Bikernieki Circuit in Riga would see some of the best talent European drifting has to offer in an explosive weekend packed with door-on-door battles, tyre smoke and a whole lot of noise!

Among the 50-strong driver grid, Team Japspeed’s very own Matt ‘Doorhunter’ Carter made the long-haul trip across the continent to take on the full-throttle layout the judges had prepared. Matt and the team wasted no time getting setup trackside before Matt jumped straight into the hot seat for Friday practice session.

With temperatures soaring both on and off the circuit, practice was going well and Matt soon found his stride; attacking the circuit with more and more aggression as the session continued. The time spent with Garage-D between round 2 and 3 were clearly paying off and spirits were high for the main event the next day.

But before the main event and unlike previous events in 2018 an extra special addition had been made to the driver’s itinerary. Friday night saw the 50-strong grid of highly tuned competition drift cars from across the continent parade through the streets of Riga – it certainly attracted attention!

As dawn broke the next day Matt Carter wasted no time in preparing for the morning qualifying. The dry conditions saw Matt smoking his way through a fresh set of Maxxis Tyres as he powered round the course earning a strong 73.3 points for this 1st qualifying run.

A strong start behind him, Matt hit the circuit for his 2nd run with the dedication of a driver determined to go hard or go home which showed in a 2nd run score of 82 points and an overall qualifying position of 21st.

With qualifying over the heavens began to open; dampening conditions on track as top 32 battles began. It was soon clear a number of drivers were struggling to cope with the increasingly wetter state of play out on the circuit.

In his own top 32 battle the #Doorhunter would face off against not only the now-torrential conditions but local driver Janis Eglite in his 800bhp BMW E46. Chasing on run 1 Matt experienced some considerable difficultly with the conditions – not unlike his opponent. To spectators it would appear more that both drivers were driving on ice rather than tarmac and as a result Matt struggled to put down all the power from his 700bhp R32 Skyline to keep up with his rival.

Despite the conditions Matt knew he had to lay it all on the line to claim victory. Leading on run 2 Matt preceded with a little less caution than before; delicately weaving his way around the course rather than trying to plant the power into the floor in one hit – a tactic that seemed to play well to conditions as his opponent had a difficult time closing the gap.

Despite a strong performance and making ground on his lead run it wasn’t enough to claim the overall advantage initially lost on his chase run. Matt Carter would be ending his campaign a little prematurely.

Team Japspeed would like to congratulate James Deane, Grzegorz Hypki and Krzysztof Romanowski on taking podium at this event.  Matt Carter will be coming back stronger than ever for DriftMasters Grand Prix round 4 on 17th-18th August as the series arrives in Toruń, Poland.

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