Round 7: Final Fight at Irwindale Speedway Results;
Daigo Saito Takes the Event Victory and Michael Essa is Crowned Champion

Long Beach, Calif. – October 13, 2013 – Formula DRIFT presented by GoPro returned to Irwindale Speedway for the final event of the 2013 season. Daigo Saito in the Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 takes the event victory. Michael Essa in the GSR Autosport / Yokohama BMW M3 is crowned champion. Lexus wins the inaugural manufacturer’s championship and Hankook Tire wins the tire championship for 2013.

Round 7: Final Fight at Irwindale Speedway was held in front of a sellout crowd and was the largest motorsport event in the venue’s history. The exciting event marked the end of the tenth season for the Series and was also the most attended for the Series with approximately over 20,000 attendees over the two day event.

“What a way to complete the tenth season with the biggest crowd and probably the biggest motorsport event ever in Irwindale Speedway history,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “We are extremely grateful for the fans, sponsors and drivers that have helped grow the series over the ten years and we look forward to many more seasons to come.”

The action unfolded beginning with Michael Essa, who entered the event with the point lead, earning the number one qualifying position giving him a good position into the Top 32 and advancing into the Top 16 where he was unable to continue in the event with a blown motor. This opened the door for Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy / Hankook Nissan 370Z, who entered the event in second place in the standings. Essa secured the championship when Forsberg lost to the 2012 champion, Daigo Saito, in the Great 8. This marks the first time a European vehicle has won the Formula DRIFT championship.

“Coming into this event I wanted to prove that this season wasn’t a fluke and sitting on the sideline wasn’t how I wanted the event to go down, but unfortunately that is what happened tonight,” said Michael Essa, 2013 Formula DRIFT champion. “The Formula DRIFT championship has always been my goal and I am extremely excited. There are so many amazing drivers and teams in the Series and being able to just compete with them is an honor. We are hoping to carry this momentum into the next season and earn more wins.”

The consolation round saw Robbie Nishida in the Bridges Racing / Achilles Tire Lexus SC300 against Forrest Wang in the Get Nuts Lab / Achilles Nissan 240SX. Wang got the best of Nishida to earn third place for his first ever Formula DRIFT podium. The final battle pitted Daigo Saito vs Tyler McQuarrie in the Mobil 1 / GoPro Chevrolet Camaro. McQuarrie hit the wall on the second battle to give Saito the event victory.

“To tell the truth I was not really feeling it in practice, but when the battles began and the lights turned on I was able to pull it together when it counted and am happy for the win to end the season,” said Daigo Saito, winner of Round 7: Final Fight. “I had a lot of issues with the car this year and I feel we weren’t able to get the car to the condition I really needed to be more competitive, but coming in third overall is something I am proud and happy about.”

Two new championships were added to the Series that included the tire and manufacturer championship. After seven events for the season, Lexus comes out on top for the inaugural manufacturer championship, while Hankook Tire takes the first tire championship.

For more information visit: www.formuladrift.com

Formula DRIFT Professional Championship Presented by GoPro 2013 Final Standings After Seven Rounds
1. Essa, Michael GSR Autosport / Yokohama BMW M3 555.50 Points
2. Forsberg, Chris NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Nissan 370Z 538 Points
3. Saito, Daigo Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 510.50 Points
4. Aasbo, Fredric Hankook Tire Scion Racing tC 487.50 Points
5. Gittin Jr., Vaughn Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR 481.00 Points
6. Pawlak, Justin Falken Tire Ford Mustang 425.00 Points
7. Field, Matt CX Racing / Maxxis / Blacktrax Nissan 240SX 407 Points
8. McNamara, Darren Falken Tire Nissan S14 388.50 Points
9. Nishida, Robbie Bridges Racing / Achilles Tire Lexus SC300 387.25 Points
10. Bakchis, Aurimas Nexen Tire Nissan S14 379 Points
11. Yoshihara, Daijiro Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 333.50 Points
12. Grunewald, Conrad Hankook Tire / Megan Racing Chevrolet Camaro SS 309.50 Points
13. DeNofa, Chelsea BC Racing BMW 3 Series 291.00 Points
13. Tuerck, Ryan Team Retaks / Maxxis Scion Racing FR-S 291.00 Points
15. McQuarrie, Tyler Mobil 1 / GoPro Chevrolet Camaro 290.50 Points
16. Powers, Matt Fatlace / Nitto Tire Nissan 240SX 282.00 Points

Round 7: Final Fight Event Results
1. Saito, Daigo Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 First Place
2. McQuarrie, Tyler Mobil 1 / GoPro Chevrolet Camaro Second Place
3. Wang, Forrest Get Nuts Lab / Achilles Nissan 240SX Third Place

Manufacturers Championship Final Standings After Seven Rounds
1. Lexus 975.50 Points
2. Nissan 912.50 Points
3. Ford 906.00 Points
4. Scion 866.50 Points
5. BMW 846.00 Points

Tire Final Championship Standings After Seven Rounds
1. Hankook 1053.50 Points
2. Falken 1008 Points
3. Achilles 973.25 Points
4. Nitto 834.50 Points
5. Yokohama 788 Points

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