Round five, and the penultimate stop in the 2019 Drift Masters European Championship took place this weekend at Ferropolis, AKA the City of Iron, in eastern Germany. Drift fans from Germany and all around Europe flocked to this unique space to witness defending Drift Masters champion James Deane secure his first victory this season, narrowly beating Steve ‘Baggsy’ Biagioni in a tense final. Polish driver Pawel Korpulinski would round off the winner’s circle, finishing in third place.
Qualifying took place during the late afternoon light, with Falken Tyre driver James Deane hosting a drift masterclass, laying down an incredible 99-point run to take P1. Master of qualification showmanship, Jack Shanahan would take P2, scoring 93 points, while Norwegian star Tor Arne Kvia would also score 93 points, taking P3.
With the technical and sweeping layout at Ferropolis being ideal for tandem battles, it was all action from the Top 32 onwards, with some big names falling early. James Deane and Max Miller finally got to battle fair and square after James’s forfeit in Riga, before James then eliminated freshly-crowned Iron Drift King champion Juha Pöytälaakso in the Top 16. The other Juha (Rintanen) was sent home early by Bartosz Stolarski whilst Benediktas Cirba saw fit that round 4 winner Martin Richards had an early bath.
The Norwegian Sledgehammer, Tor Arne Kvia, looked to be on great form, knocking down Swede Christian Erlandsson in the Top 32, however mechanical issues forced his retirement early in the Top 16 against Stephen Biagioni. Baggsy would then go on to beat Cirba in the Great 8 before a close battle with Pawel Korpulinski ensued in the Final 4.
James Deane’s path to the Finals would be relatively drama-free, with Pöytälaakso and Elias Hountondji falling foul to Deane’s masterclass. An on-form Marco Zakouril would give it his all against Deane in the Final 4, before differential failure would spell the end of Zakouril’s night, meaning he could not go on to battle Pawel Korpulinski in the play-off battle, gifting third place to Korpulinski, whilst Deane and Biagioni would battle it out for first.
With vital championship points at stake, neither Deane or Biagioni would concede an inch in a tense Final, however, it would be Deane’s consistency and composure that would serve him best, rewarding the defending champion with his first Drift Masters European Championship victory this season!
And what a season it has been! The sixth and final round of the 2019 Drift Masters European Championship takes place at Mondello Park in Ireland on the 21st & 22nd of September. With the points still incredibly close at the top of the table, it all boils down to who can hold their nerve best on this most difficult of proving grounds. Tickets are available now and we hope to 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.