Round 2 of the Goodyear International Drift Series (GIDS) happened yesterday (1 August) at the Melaka International Motorsport Circuit (MIMC) and Ivan Lau of Team Bridgestone continued his good run when he defeated teammate Tan Tat Wei in the finals. With this victory, Lau has improved on his second place in Rd1 of GIDS in Putrajaya back in June. Completing the podium was Ariff Johanis from Team Goodyear Malaysia, who defeated crowd favourite Tengku Djan in the third place battle.

It was dark and cloudy all day at the circuit adjacent to the Ayer Keroh highway turnoff, but rain did not materialise. Although promotional material showed the Holden Commodore of Rd1 winner Fanga Dan, the Kiwi didn’t take part in this round. No matter, as the best from the Malaysian drift scene, along with lesser known hopefuls, were out to impress and take a shot at the RM10,000 main prize and bragging rights.

UPDATE: Live gallery added. Full report after the jump.

30 drifters including one Singaporean (Ivan Lim from Goodyear Binter) and one Indonesian (Rhenadi Arinton of GT Radial) did two solo qualifying runs to get a spot in the top-16 “tsuiso” battles, where drifters go head-to-head (or rather door-to-door) to progress. To this writer’s eyes, the track (which also hosted the recent Perodua Eco Challenge) looked almost too narrow to accommodate two cars going sideways. Team Goodyear’s experienced drifter Ariff Johanis concurred, describing the designed for go-kart track as “safe but technical”. Officials said that the layout meant that higher powered cars do not have too big an advantage.

Qualifying did not serve up too many surprises. Tengku Djan, in his “local spec” Nissan 180SX, overcooked his first run to score 0 but everyone knew that the Prince of Drift will make it. Not only did he go through, his second run of 91 points made the Bridgestone man the top qualifier. Goodyear’s Ariff was also impressive; he was just behind Djan with 87.5 points. He was joined in the top-16 by teammates Hanizam aka Loyai and Michael Gan, but not wife Azrina Jane, whose 50+ points wasn’t enough to qualify.

Johan Norman of Team FX Open served up the biggest drama in qualifying when his big Nissan Laurel charged into the tyre barrier. Those who watched Driven on 8TV should remember him as Harvinder and Alis’ drift “sifu” in the show’s final episode.

Kicking off the tandem battles was top qualifier Tengku Djan, who dispatched Lim Chee Leong with ease in a super smoky run. Michael Gan from Goodyear was then defeated by Toyo’s Lim Zee King. The next fight was between Mervyn Nakamura (Federal) and Boostzone’s Ng Chun Lai. The latter drove as boldly as his car’s bright orange paintwork, managing to keep his 180SX in the chase despite using every inch of the track. He seemed to have gone through after pulling out a good distance when leading, but spun at the end to hand the tie to Nakamura.

Next up was Tan Tat Wei in his rotary powered AE86. The Bridgestone man totally demolished the S15 of Muhd Zaiham aka Bullzai, but overtook the Nissan when following (no overtaking unless you have no choice). It looked as if TTW had no other option as Zaiham was way wide, but judges called a One More Time (OMT), which Tan comfortably won.

A huge battle was up next; an A31 battle between Goodyear’s Hanizam (Loyai) and Fazreen aka Along Rempit of Team FX Open. This tie had two OMTs, but Loyai threw it away in the second rematch. The impressive Fazreen spun when he led, but instead of just taking it easy for a clean run, Loyai was too aggressive and made mistakes, which brought another OMT. Fazreen went through and lost narrowly to eventual champ Ivan Lau in the top-8.

In that stage, Djan showed some great door-to-door drifting for the first time that day, when he killed of Lim Zee King’s hopes. Tan Tat Wei then showed talented young man Mervyn Nakamura a masterclass when his little but loud Toyota pulled out a huge distance in their fight – it was a trashing! Next up was an all Goodyear battle (Malaysia vs Singapore) starring Ariff and Ivan Lim. The unlucky Ariff, who really deserves a break, was cool and steady (not always so!) to send off Ivan, who made the job easier by running wide in the first corner.

The heat was building up, and the semis served up some brilliant action. Tan Tat Wei squared off against his more illustrious teammate Djan, and this was the most exciting duel of the day. TTW pushed Djan all the way, sticking to the Nissan like a lizard, and following Djan’s moves as if he could read his mind. Like synchronised swimming! Djan wasn’t as smooth, and the judges spotted some corrections he made, giving the tie to the deserving Tan.

On the other end of the draw, Ariff took on another Ivan, this time Ivan Lau. Ariff was in good form, and he carved out a big distance from Ivan’s 4AGE with NOS Levin. Lau never really caught up, and it was advantage Ariff. But unfortunately, Ariff didn’t do as good a job when following, and straightened his car when tailing Ivan. A wasted chance, but at least he got a sweet podium spot by knocking off Tengku Djan in the third place battle. It wasn’t a good outing for Malaysia’s top drifter as he put half of the Nissan’s wheels in the gravel, which caused him to lose control and crash out.

The all AE86 battle between teammates was a repeat of the semi final in Rd1, but wasn’t half as exciting to watch. It was a close battle nevertheless, but Ivan Lau was deemed a bit better than Tan Tat Wei, who wasn’t as smooth and had to straighten his car occasionally.

The Goodyear International Drift Series is part of a regional effort from the tyremaker to grow the sport in our backyard (besides Malaysia, Thailand also has its own GIDS). By working closely with Formula Drift Pro Am, GIDS could possibly raise the standards of our local drift scene in aspects such as safety, for instance. We hear that the next and final round for the series will be held in the Klang Valley, so stay tuned.

[zenphotopress number=999 album=1378]