The return to the UAE for the 2016 EXTREME Drift Allstars season opener at the world famous Yas Marina Circuit was a key date on the race calendar for Steve ‘Baggsy’ Biagioni. After a taste of the UAE drift scene back in January at King Of Nations in Fujairah, Baggsy and his team knew all the stops would have to be pulled out in the land where big power talks. With a healthy line up of drivers and a demanding Formula One track to take on, it was time to call in the heavy artillery.
It was time to take the heart of Baggsy’s trademark stealth black Nissan S13 and make some significant changes. Swapping out the SR20 motor for a custom built LS3 V8 engine, prepped by Chris Jeanneret Racing. With only five days on the ground to fit the new power supply, time was ticking. But the team got straight to work and had the car ready for testing two days before the event.
Boasting 700 whp and 750 torque with a little help from the Nitrous Express set up, it was time to make some noise on the black top of Yas Marina Circuit. The flood lit night event of Drift Allstars World Series round one didn’t disappoint. Baggsy made his mark straight away with a first place qualifying result, which was soon to be matched with a 1st place win. Beating a huge lineup of talent, including eventual second place finsher Ahamad Daham, and series regular Nigel Colfer (third), marks a long awaited return to the podium for Baggsy; after he endured a challenging season last year.
“It’s been a long road back to the podium – we spent 2015 with a lot of gremlins in the car and bad luck, and I said to myself that 2016 would be our year. It’s got us off to a fantastic start – I hope we can continue at the same pace”, so Baggsy.
“I think I’ve learnt to drive around not having a lot of power, so for the last couple of years using the SR block engine, with only around 450bhp compared to everyone else having up to 800bhp I had adapted my driving style – but still managing to make things work against the big powered cars. So now finally having the big power available from the new engine myself, things just seemed a lot easier and felt I was a lot more competitive straight away. Without having to use every last bit of power I could squeeze out of my car.”
“The circuit at Yas Marina is fairly elevated, it’s got a pretty good downhill section too, so the first turn is blind, and you basically initiate and hope you’re on the right line to the first set of clipping points. Overall there were 10 clipping points, so it was very technical. For me though it was all about the stadium and atmosphere – it was absolutely amazing, and the most incredible place to come drifting.”
Photos Dan Fegent, Steve “Baggsy” Biaggioni