With Round 2 of the Formula Drift championship in the books, Mustang drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr. stepped up to the podium for the second time this season, in second place at Road Atlanta, and secured the No. 1 spot overall May 8.
Gittin took his Monster Energy/ Falken Tire 2011 Ford Mustang into the top 32, defeating Michihiro Takatori, then sliding past Drift Alliance brother Joon Maeng in the top 16. That put him up against another Drift Alliance ally and friend, Ryan Tuerck, in the top eight, a repeat of Long Beach a month earlier where Gittin triumphed.
Tuerck led first, and Gittin stayed glued to his door throughout the course. When it was Gittin's turn to lead, he used the power of his Ford Racing Supercharged 5.0 V-8 to create a large gap after the horseshoe that Tuerck just couldn't close. That moved him into the semi-finals.
In the final four, Gittin faced Michael Essa, a newcomer to the top 16. During the first set of runs, Gittin spun when leading right before the finish line, and Essa spun when leading going into the first turn. That set up a third run.
During the One-More-Time, Gittin hit all the clips when leading, with insane angle and speed throughout the course. When following, he put the pressure on Essa, sticking like a magnet to his competitor. The judges awarded Gittin the win and a guaranteed spot on the podium.
Gittin was set to battle Falken Tire teammate Daijiro Yoshihara for first place. Both drivers put down great runs while they fought hard for the No. 1 podium position. But after the Falken Tire smoke settled, Yoshihara was awarded the win and Gittin was awarded second place.
As the only competitor thus far this season to have two podiums — taking first place in Long Beach and now second in Atlanta — Gittin remains at 199 points, first place overall with a 37-point lead over Yoshihara in the fight for the 2010 Formula Drift Championship.
The Formula Drift action continues with Round 3: The Gauntlet at Wall Speedway in New Jersey June 4-5. Gittin finished second at this round last year as part of the first-ever Team Falken Tire podium sweep and he’s aiming for at least as good for 2010.