The damage the S13 sustained was alot more serious than it appeared to be. Due to using aftermarket front lower arms and rear A arms, the impact to the wall had caused the front and rear subframe to shift! The tie rods were badly bent and the front knuckle wasn’t spared either. Being so late in the evening, it was impossible to get them replaced so with the help from the boys from Tek Ming Tyres, we basically had to try knocking everything back into place with a hammer and a welding torch.
It was almost 1am when we got everything done to best we could. The car steered straight but the steering would not return to center. I figured this was alright as long as I remember to manually counter steering whenever drifting. Besides it was so late into the evening and having hardly any sleep the past 2 nights, I couldn’t think straight 😛
I was eager to start the next morning’s pre-competition practice as I was curious on how the car handled.
Not wanting to risk anything, I insisted for Miki (Ryuji) to lead during our first run. Drifting with a ‘dead’ steering takes a bit of getting used to. It was not too dificult have to counter steer manually when both hands are on the wheel but it proved to be a handful (pun intended) when only using one hand when the other is on the handbrake. Having to turn almost one and a half rotations, I had developed the trucker’s style of steering while drifting.
After a few runs , I was beginning to get the hang of it and even considered a career in driving trucks…the effect of the lack of sleep was definitely hitting me at that time
Soon it came to my turn to go against Rhenadi in the best 32. We both lined up at the start and off we went. Going in at full throttle thru the gears I had noticed something was amiss; the car felt way under powered. It was too late to do anything now so I had just floor it and clutch kick my way thru the corner. The run was decent enough but I knew I should have done better. Upon reaching the start line, I shouted for the crew to check on the car , then only did my crew realised that they had forgotten to turn the Nitrous bottle open!! To put the effect of this into perspective; My car without the aid of nitrous was pushing about 330WHP, with the 50hp shot of nitrous it had 370WHP. With the nitrous switch turned on but with the bottle shut, it makes the engine run at a very rich fuel mixture with retarded inginition timing, and I was only pushing in the mid region of 2ooWHP. Man, was I pissed. All those sleepless nights , all those times at the alignment shop seemed wasted because of this silly mistake. We should have taken a five-minute break for me to regain my composure, but I immediately went for the 2nd run. I had given Rhenadi a car’s length distance at the start and followed him into the initiation point. Rhenadi had intiated while i followed suit. As we approached the wall, Rhenadi looked as if he was about to lose it and had slowed the car considerably to gain control of the car. I was forced to slow down which had caused me to straighten. Rhenadi somehow managed to gain control and continued drifting with a clutch kick which I too had attempted to do. However, to my horror , I had forgotten to perform the manual countersteer as the car spun which the wheels were lock into position!!! I went on for a few meters and did a clutch kick again and the same thing happend!!!
It was then I knew my Goodyear Formula Drift Malaysia campaign was over. Frustrated, I just drove back to the pit .
It was tough to put on a cheerful face on camera after that incident but I know I had to do it
Explaining to Rhenadi’s parents on what had happened during our run
The spectators were all supportive. I really felt I let them down that day
Having been knocked out so early in the round gave me the opportunity to check out the competition first hand..
It was good to be able to meet all the fans as we all stayed back long after the event was over, signing our poster and cards. I guess I found it therapeutic as I felt a lot better after. However it was good I went through what I did as it prepared me for 2010 proved which is about to be most disastrous year yet