A very special location was chosen for the 2019 season opener - Blagomix Logatec, the Slovenian House of Drift. We deemed it only right to bring high-profile international drifting. The starting grid was incredibly diverse with drivers coming from 6 different countries, but even more so car-wise. Among the predominant BMWs and Nissans, as well as some Toyotas to complete the standard marques-list, one could even spot an Audi and an Alfa-Romeo flying sideways past them.
The layout of the course gave a bit of an edge to high-powered drift cars, however rain clouds chased away tyre-smoke clouds and leveled the field before the race had really started. Demanding track conditions soon took a toll on a few cars. The rain also prevented Ferenc Cserep's screamer-piped BMW E46 with a 1JZ engine to come out for qualifying, while Marko Brkljačić's LS-powered BMW E90 had to retire due to technical issues.
The fully wet conditions suited the Austrians well, with Stefan Bloder (Nissan S13), Lukas Dobias (Toyota AE86) and Austrian-living Bulgarian Niko Stefanov (Nissan S14a) in the top 4. Atop the list, however, was – perhaps a little surprisingly – Marko Brdek, the young and talented Croatian in a turbocharged BMW E30.
A short spell of dry weather was followed by more rain throughout twin battles, meaning there was no shortage of spins, 'bumps' among two drivers or exciting and intense runs. In regards to qualifying classification, there were some upsets and interestingly enough, the younger drivers proved more successful than the experienced 'old guard.' Marko Brdek eliminated Elek Borcsik's 1JZ Soarer, Dobias advanced past Matjaž Podboršek in what was probably the best Top 16 battle and Bloder beat Tortul. Last season's runner-up David Barle was having some difficulties with his newly-built BMW E36 and couldn't find his way into Great 8.
There, we saw quite an upset when rookie Matic Mlakar beat 2-time champion Uroš Berdajs. Brdek won a hard-fought duel with Alen Gregorič, while Zoltan Szanto was beaten by Lukas Dobias. Ivan Višković completed the Final 4 after eliminating Stefan Bloder.
An eager and – given the weather – rather sizeable crowd applauded and cheered vividly right to the final battles, where Višković took 3rd from Mlakar, while the grand finale between Brdek and Dobias was a preview of what's to come from the up-and-comers and reassures us the future of the series is bright! After qualifying 1st, Marko Brdek also took home the race victory, but Lukas Dobias also has every reason to be very happy with 2nd place in his Adria Drift Series debut.
Round 1: THE KICK OFF event results
The pool of fresh talent is unbelievable, while some of the more experienced guys are yet to get their race cars up to 100% functioning order, meaning you can expect all kinds of unexpected to happen in RD 2 THE SHOWDOWN.
See you in Čakovec, Croatia on June 30!