Round three of the Drift Masters European Championship 2019 took place at a custom-built circuit inside Płock football stadium. Under the floodlights, and with looming concrete walls, pyrotechnics, and a near-capacity crowd doing their best to distract them, the Drift Masters drivers had to contend with one of the longest circuits in drifting, and navigate a total of 11 transitions to cross the finish line. Local wild card driver Paweł Borkowski would overcome all in order to take the victory in front of his home crowd, with Piotr Więcek finishing in second and Grzegorz Hypki taking third, rounding out an all-Polish podium!
During Friday’s qualifying event, Ireland’s Jack Shanahan would top the table, snatching P1 with a stunning 98-point lap. He would be closely chased by James Deane with 97 points in P2, and Tor Arne Kvia with 92 points in P3.
As the sun set over Płock, the floodlights illuminated the circle of tarmac, with the vocal crowd filling the stadium both physically and with noise. The Top 32 saw several battles worthy of being a final – Adam Zalewski took on Pawel Trela in an all-Polish dual, with Trela coming out the victor, Piotr Więcek went toe-to-toe with Kevin Quinn in a very aggressive battle, and Pawel Korpulinski and Dawid Karkosik left no panel unscathed after their battle.
In the Top 16, an on-form Bartosz Stolarski would leave Austria’s Brandy Brandner in his smoke, while Norbert Zamecz lost out to Germany’s Max Heidrich who had found an unbelievable amount of pace here in Płock. On the other side of the bracket, James Deane went One More Time with motorsport legend Kuba Przygonski before Deane came out on top, and Tor Arne Kvia forced a spin from England’s Martin Richards. Perhaps the surprise result of the Top 16 was an early exit for points leader Duane McKeever as he conceded to Pawel Trela.
James Deane had to contend with yet another One More Time in the Great 8, as Pawel Borkowski pushed the Irish champion to his limits on every single run, before the Polish driver secured the victory, much to the crowd’s enjoyment. Tor Arne Kvia lost out to Grzegorz Hypki in another battle, while Max Heidrich and Pawel Trela’s battle had everyone on the edge of their seats before Heidrich took the win. The final driver to progress into the Final 4 would be local superstar Piotr Więcek after he beat Bartosz Stolarski fair and square.
Down to just four drivers, and three of them Polish – Więcek, Borkoswki, Hykpi and Heidrich, and it would be the German to fall first, as a seemingly unstoppable Więcek stormed through to the Finals. In the other battle, Borkowski and Hypki had the crowd chanting for their favourite by the end of their runs, with Borkowski doing enough to force mistakes from Hypki and secure the win.
The stage was set for an epic Final – Więcek versus Borkowski, and a head-to-head that, based on form up to now, no-one could call. As flames shot into the air and the near-capacity crowd raised their smartphone lights in unison, the two left it all on the track – figuratively and almost literally, as they rubbed panels and scraped their way around the walls lining the circuit.
It was an incredibly close fight, but the judges had seen enough… we had our winner, and it would be Pawel Borkowski who would stand atop the podium in front of his home crowd, with fellow countrymen Piotr Więcek and Grzegorz Hypki either side of him in second and third, respectively.
Round four of the 2019 Drift Masters European Championship takes place at Biķernieku Trase in Riga, Latvia on 2nd-3rd August, 2019 for what is shaping up to be one hell of a second half to the season. We’ll see you there, but if you can’t make it then be sure to tune into the livestream on the Drift Masters European Championship website, the Drift Masters Facebook page, or on Red Bull TV.