80 drivers registered for the Monster Energy King of Europe Drift ProSeries, the Federal Tyres Queen of Europe, Federal Tyres King of Europe Street Legal and Federal Tyres Gymkhana Kings, all set to take place during the same weekend at Slovakiaring.
The enthusiasm around the race was even bigger given the fact that the Drift King himself, Keiichi Tsuchiya, would fly all the way over from Japan to be an official judge for the race.
As the results came in, everyone was shocked to hear that the difference between 1st and 32nd place was of only 10 points, which just went to prove how tough the competition really was for the weekend. Team DriftBrothers driver Joe Hountondji put on an exceptional performance, and managed to get P1 in his LS powered Nissan RPS13.
The only driver in Slovakiaring to have driven in the first ever King of Europe race back in 2005, Remmo Niezen, was also onsite for the race, and he took 2nd place in the qualifying session, in his BMW M5 powered E30. Marcin Carzasty had brought out his new 800 horsepower Nissan S14, which he drove to 3rd place overall, securing his spot for the Sunday battles. Moving on to 4th, this place was occupied by the man who had won the King of Europe Slovakiaring final from 2013, Bartosz Stolarski, with his now 1100 horsepower Nissan S14.
Nicolo Rosso in the Myway Drift School E46 and Eddy Laissue in the Hazardous Drift Crew E36 did not qualify as well, with a similar situation going on for Alex Graff and the other Team54 driver, Josip Sinadovic. Talking about mechanical failure, Adam Kerenyi and Arpad Enekes were both out of the race. While Arpad’s turbo had failed, Adam also had forced inductions issues, in his case with the supercharger system. This meant that, for the first time in 6 years, Adam would not be on the end of the year podium. A shocking outcome indeed, as he has so far won 3 King of Europe Titles, with another 3 end of the year podiums under his belt so far. Speaking about detailed telemetry results, the highest speed of the day was recorded by Swen Burkhard in his SR20DET powered Toyota Corolla AE86, as he was clocked doing 128kph going into turn 1.
Marcin Carzasty also came pretty close to this achievement,with a speed of 124 kph, very similar result to Michal Reichert, and also a line-up of three other Polish drivers including Wojciech Sposob, Wojtek Gozdziewicz and Tomasz Kowalski. The award for the best attack angle, of 63 degrees, was given to Szilveszter Gyorgy, in his 2JZ powered Nissan RPS13. While the best average angle of the day was 45 degrees, the best average speed was recorded by Francesco Conti, at 101 kph.
Going into the Top32 battles on Sunday, everyone was anxious to see how the action would unfold, and who would be crowned 2015 Monster Energy King of Europe Drift ProSeries champion. The first battle of the weekend was going to be fought between Joe Hountondji in the LS powered Nissan RPS13 and Swen Burkhard in the SR20DET powered Corolla AE86. Although Swen ran a good lead run, with the judges scoring a 5-5, Joe was really on it on the first run, and with a 8-2 , he was advancing to the Top16. 2013 and 2014 King of Europe Street Legal champion Alexander Yazov had the difficult mission to take on Zsolt Grozinger and his 2JZ powered Nissan RPS13.
Although the battle was pretty balanced in the beginning, Grozinger made a crucial mistake on the second run, and the Bulgarian driver was moving on to the next round. Next up, two very potent BMWs, a Supercharged M3 E36 driven by Alois Pamper Austria and a Turbocharged LS powered E30 driven by Pawel Rosiak. Although Alois had the upper hand on the first run, Pawel made a comeback on the second one, and won the battle.
Fresh from winning the final round of the Federal Tyres King of Europe Street Legal, Clemens Kauderer was stopped early in the game by Pawel Borkowski, by just 1 point worth of difference.Bartosz Stolarski was obviously aiming for the top podium spot for the weekend, and his runs were close to perfect throughout the weekend. This was bad news for Eli Hountondji though, who lost both runs against the Polish driver, and had to sit and watch the rest of the race from the grandstands. In an all Polish battle, Kewin Kosowski took Tomasz Kowalski out of the race in just two runs. Coming all the way over from Greece, Stathis Papargiropoulos knew he’d have to pull out some aces out of his sleeves, if he were to win against Szilveszter Gyorgy, seeing that he was driving a rental Toyota Starlet. He went in too hot on his chase run, and hit Szilveszter pretty hard, thus getting a 0 from the judges, and loosing the overall battle after the second run.
While Adam Frank knew he’d have to at least advance to the Top16 if he wanted to still have a shot at winning the championship, Michal Reichert was thinking only about going further than he did in Poland, where he had mechanical problems. The Czech driver won the first run 6-4, and things went hectic on the second run. After a pretty serious impact between the two drivers and a close analysis of their run by means of video recordings, the judges decided that both drivers should be given a 0, and thus Adam Frank was out of the race for the championship. Zsolt Zalabai from Hungary, in the LS BMW E30 made a serious mistake on his first run against Marcin Carzasty , and could not make up for it on the second run, thus allowing Marcin to advance to the Top16. It is worth saying that both King of Europe events held at Slovakiaring in the past, back in 2012 and 2013 were won by Polish drivers, first with Carzasty and then with Stolarski.
Karolina Pilarczyk came to the start line after just winning the final round of the Federal Tyres Queen of Europe Drift Series, and her Top32 opponent was going to be Balint Smideliusz and his Superchaged V8 powered BMW E30. For some reason, Karolina just couldn’t get into her normal rythm, and Balint went on to win both runs with a pretty big advantage.
Wojtek Gozdziewicz, driving the only Volskwagen powered drift car at the event (Turbo VR6 E36) was going to put up a serious fight against Francesco Conti and his VR38DETT RPS13. In the end, the Italian driver won by just 1 point, and was advancing to the Top16.
The list of Polish drivers in the Top16 was about to become shorter, as Jakub Biedrzycki Mateusz Fijal and Wojciech Sposob were knocked out of the race, by Norbert Kovacik, Rene Alexander and Calin Ciortan. On the Italian side of the list, fans were sad to see Massimo Checchin lose to Uwe Sener, but happy to see that Amerigo Monteverde managed to win against Remmo Niezen in what was probably the most intense battle of the Top32. This being his first time ever in Slovakiaring, Remmo had driven spectacularly well given the situation, and it’s certain that he will be back for bigger results in 2016.
Moving on to the next stage of the race, Joe Hountondji was not going to stop yet, as he knocked out Alexander Yazov in the Top16. End of the weekend for Pawel Rosiak as well, as he lost his battle against Pawel Borkowski. Stolarski continued to drive in his same specific rythm and so he was also advancing to the Top8. After fixing his car following up to the crash against Adam Frank, Michal Reichert was facing yet another challenging opponent: Gyorgy Szilveszter. After two runs, they were tied for points, and after yet another crash, the judges asked for a One More Time, but this time Reichert could not fix his car in time, and Szilveszter was progressing to the Top8. After Carzasty took out Zsolt Zalabai from the race, the Hungarian’s team mate, Balint Smideliusz was looking for revenge, and after just two runs, the battle was over, and the 2012 Slovakiaring King of Europe final round winner Marcin Carzasty was out of the race.
Francesco Conti also easily managed to defeat Uwe Sener and advance to the Top8. While Rene Alexander could not keep up with Calin Ciortan’s ultra-fast and smoky runs, Norbert Kovacik was knocked out of the race by Amerigo Monteverde, leaving him with a small uncertainty regarding the possibility of still claiming the 2015 title.
Even though Team Drift Brothers have not been able to run a full season in 2015, both Joe and Eli Hountondji have proven themselves time and time again, and Joe was once again aiming for a podium finish. After winning the first run 7-4, and loosing the second one by 4-6, he was now onto the semifinals. Everyone was curious to see how the battle betwen Bartosz Stolarski and Szilveszter Gyorgy would be like, with both drivers being extremely fast and committed to their driving. With a 5-5 on the second run, the outcome was decided by considering the score on the first run, where Stolarski got a 7-3, putting him through to the semifinals as well. The last two Italian drivers left in the race, Francesco Conti and Amerigo Monteverde were both moving up to the semifinals, after eliminating Balint Smideliusz and Calin Ciortan from the race.
As Joe Hountondji and Bartosz Stolarski showed up to the start line, everyone wanted to see if Joe would be able to hold his own against the Polish giant, especially seeing that he was running a naturally aspirated LS engine, as opposed to the turbocharged one used on the S14. Surprisingly enough, Joe even won the first run by a 6-4, but Stolarski put on an exceptional display of power on the second run and turned the situation around to his favor. Conti and Monteverde have battled eachother many times in the past, during the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons, when they were also team-mates, and in most of the times, Conti was the one to come out on top. After a One More Time was asked for by the judges, it seemed that Amerigo was having serious steering issues, and could not continue pushing his car forward in a safe manner, and so he decided to drop out and try to fix his car in time for the small battle against Joe Hountondji, which he eventually lost.
The last battle of the weekend was going to be an exact reiteration of the last battle of 2013, between Francesco Conti and Bartosz Stolarski, only that this time both drivers were competing on Nissan S-Chassis. As Conti’s RPS13 is still not fully dialed in yet, Stolarski took the opportunity to defeat the Italian driver on both runs, and win the race by a considerable margin.
As the 2015 season has come to an end, Norbert Kovacik has been crowned champion, for the first time in his drift career, with Szilveszter Gyorgy sitting in 2nd place and Adam Frank sitting in 3rd. At the same time, Szilveszter became the Myway Drift School Rookie of the Year, Norbert Kovacik became the Motul Challenge Winner, and both of them together have won the Team Championship.
Photos King of Europe Drift, EyedeaMedia