Following a strong performance at Formula D Round 4 at Wall New Jersey, Darren McNamara was hopeful of a strong result at the high speed banked Evergreen Speedway track. As the 2014 season progresses, the KW-equipped S14 has been continually developed and improved and is now one of the most competitive cars on the Formula D grid.
The Evergreen Speedway track features a long, high-speed wall rub along it’s 8 degree banked oval, which a number drivers fell victim to over the course of the weekend. D-Mac and the S14 looked strong from the off in practice though, and with Darren previously topping the qualifying sheets at this venue, his track knowledge proved an early advantage.
During qualifying most competitors played it safe on their first run, all too aware of the consequences of contact with the wall. D-Mac came out and went full attack from the off, scoring a 90.5 on his first run. This would have been enough to top qualifying, however, on his 2nd run he blitzed the track with a score of 92. After qualifying Darren said he was never happier with any car he’s driven in Formula Drift.
Qualifying in first place meant Darren was paired against 32nd place qualifier Tony Angelo. The pace of the 1,200bhp Falken S14 on the bank proved too much for former Formula Drift judge Angelo, who crashed out. This saw Darren into the Top 16, where his first rival would be 2011 Formula Drift champion and Falken Tire team mate Dai Yoshihara. Again looking comfortable in the S14, Darren dispatched his team mate and advanced to face Joon Maeng in the Final 8. This was the furthest Joon had progressed this season but this is where it ended for the South Korean, as Darren progressed to the Semi Final.
The competition hit another level in the semi finals. Chris Forsberg, current championship leader and a driver on a hot streak of four podiums in a row, was Darren’s next opponent. However, even after an intense battle which pushed both drivers and their cars to their limit, Chris and his 370Z weren’t a match for D-Mac in the S14. Fellow Irish driver Dean Kearney was the only thing between Darren and the top step of the podium.
D-Mac put in a perfect lead run. On the second run, there was contact before entry to turn one. Both cars suffered damaged steering and after much deliberation, the judges ruled that starting the 2nd run again was the only fair option. With the S14 repaired, Darren made a huge dive on Kearney’s door on entry, and maintained proximity throughout the course to win the battle and take the win at Formula D Round 5. It’s only the seventh time in FD history that a driver has had a perfect event, winning both qualifying and the event outright. With this performance, D-Mac moves up to fifth in the championship. Round 6 on the calendar is on at Texas Motor Speedway September 12th and 13th.