Fredric Aasbo wins Formula Drift season opener

Rockstar Energy Drink / Hankook Tire Scion tC tops the podium in Long Beach
Fredric Aasbo opened the Formula Drift season with a win this weekend in the Rockstar Energy Drink / Hankook Tire Scion tC. “We’re in this for the title and now we’re in the lead of the Formula Drift World Championship and the U.S. Formula Drift Championship,” said Aasbo. “That’s how you want to start the season.” A sell-out crowd overflowed grandstands and packed into the venue to take in the action at the Streets of Long Beach event. The course, which uses turns 9, 10 and 11 of the Grand Prix track, features high-speed entries, narrow walls and no margin for error.

Aasbo had a confident start to the weekend, achieving a third-place qualifying position on Friday to start Saturday’s tandem battles in a strong position. The sport follows a knock-out elimination format, with drivers competing head-to-head in battles judged on speed, angle and style. The resulting competition is a crowd pleasing combination of high-drama, tire-smoking stunting.

The weekend opened with contact when Japanese driver Masashi Yokoi slowed unavoidably in the final turn and he and Aasbo collided. Judges deemed Yokoi at fault and Aasbo moved ahead to meet first Geoff Stoneback, then Tyler McQuarrie on his way to the Final Four, where he met Ryan Tuerck for a high-drama battle.

The first round was too close to call when both cars in the match developed mechanical issues that resulted in on-course errors. Judges called for a “One More Time” rematch and Aasbo ultimately advanced to the final when Tuerck was unable to bring his car to the line.

“It was such a hard day of competition that by the end, the cars were just worn out,” said Aasbo. “For me, that last corner became a real challenge during my battle with Ryan (Tuerck). I lost second gear and had to shift between first and third.

But Aasbo pushed through the challenge and scored the win over challenger Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis in the Final. “Growing up in Norway and learning to drive on snowy roads really paid off here in California today,” said Aasbo. “It sounds funny but that’s how you learn to adapt.”

Aasbo debuted with Papadakis Racing at the Long Beach event in 2011 and this is the first time since then that he has advanced past the Top 8 round in the season opener. Team owner Stephan Papadakis said it felt like the start of a new era for the Papadakis Racing squad.

“We’ve had a Top 8 curse here in Long Beach and to finally break it and start the 2015 season with a win feels incredible,” said Papadakis. “We want this championship for the Rockstar Energy Drink / Hankook Tire Scion tC and there is no better start.”

ABOUT FREDRIC AASBO

Fredric Aasbo returns to Papadakis Racing in 2015 for his fifth season with the team. The Norwegian driver finished the 2014 Formula Drift champion in the runner-up position and “Fan Favorite of the Year” for the third year in a row. Earlier this year, he released the first video in his Dreamride YouTube project, #DreamrideLA.

The two-time Nordic Drifting champion (2007, 2008) made his U.S. debut at a global drifting invitational in 2008 and turned heads when he won the 2010 Formula Drift Rookie of the Year title. He has rapidly progressed through the drifting ranks around the world and has established himself as both a fan favorite and proven championship contender.

Aasbo is originally from Ski, Norway, and now splits his time between his native country and Southern California. He campaigns a full international season, in 2015 running the full Formula Drift schedule as well as select events worldwide in Europe and in Asia.

ABOUT PAPADAKIS RACING

Team owner Stephan Papadakis is a legend of sport-compact racing who began building his reputation in the 1990s with the first front-wheel-drive, tube-chassis drag car in the U.S.

The team earned multiple records and championships in the discipline, turning in elapsed times and trap speeds previously thought unattainable in front-drive drag cars. Papadakis’ successes in front-wheel drive were matched by his efforts in rear-wheel drive when he campaigned a Civic that became only the fifth car to join the NHRA’s Sport Compact 200 MPH club.

The Papadakis Racing team began drifting in 2005 and has shown impressive results in seven years of Formula Drift competition, earning two championship titles with driver Tanner Foust (2007, 2008). The team finished in the runner-up position in the 2014 championship with driver Fredric Aasbo. The Rockstar Energy Drink / Hankook Tire Scion tC is the team’s latest competition build.

PAPADAKIS RACING IS PARTNERED WITH

Rockstar Energy Drink, Hankook Tire, Scion Racing, KMC Wheels, AEM Electronics, Berk Technology, SPC Performance, Gatebil, RS-R, Torco Advanced Lubricants, BorgWarner