In 2014, Karpacz made its way into the King of Touge calendar, and the news that the ProSeries might come over for 2015 created a lot of enthusiasm throughout the European drift community. As the initial test went extremely well, it was decided that indeed, for 2015, one of the stops in the calendar would include the worldwide famous Polish venue. As soon as the event was publically announced, drivers started applying for the registration process. As the race trailers started rolling in on early Friday morning, tech inspection was opened, and you could already notice the excitement on drivers faces, who were all eager to actually drive the layout, starting on Saturday. As always, the variety of cars was impressive to watch, as competitors from 11 different countries across the continent soon overflowed the paddock area.
Although heavy rainstorms were “scheduled” to make the touge layout even more difficult than it already was, the qualifying session was held on dry surface, and so the speeds,vangles and amount of smoke that the cars displayed were exactly what the fans wanted to see. STW Drift Team driver Marek Wartalowicz, who has been doing select King of Europe events for 5 years now got pole position, with a best run of 88.75 points. Hungarian Szilveszter Gyorgy once again showed everyone that he means serious business this year, as he grabbed 2nd, just one point behind his Polish adversary. Third place went to Slovakia, with Norbert Kovacik struggling a bit with the steep incline of the track and the lack of horsepower with his naturally aspirated V10. Dakar superstar, Jakub Przygonski drove his 1068 horsepower Toyota GT86 to 4th place, just in front of young prodigy Adam Zalewski and Monster Energy driver Steve Biaggioni, who qualified 5th and 6th respectively.
Moving on to the battles, right of the top the audience was treated to some very close tandems, and some very impressive driving. By the time the competition had moved to the Top16, the judges were facing some really close calls, and of course the “One More Time” rule was applied in several situations. Marek Wartalowicz continued to show great promise for the weekend, as he took out Wojtek Gozdziewicz in the Volkswagen powered BMW E36. Series regular, Massimo Checchin from Italy did his best in the battle against Jakub Przygonski, but in the end he was knocked out of the competition. Adam Zalewski had to retire due to mechanical issues, although most people were expecting to see him on the podium by the end of the weekend.
Both Mateusz Fijal and Steve Biagioni crashed in their battles against Norbert Kovacik and Mike Kauffman, and so they were also prematurely knocked out of the race. Kornel Prus unexpectedly had to retire because of a mechanical failure with his 900 horsepower Turbocharged, LSXed BMW E46, while Szilveszter Gyorgy slightly damaged his car while tandeming with Marin Morier, but ultimately taking the win and moving on to the Top8.
The most succesful drivers in the qualifying session continued to dominate the race, with Marek Wartalowicz, Jakub Przygonski, Norbert Kovacik and Szilveszter Gyorgy all winning against their opponents and advancing to the next level of competition. “One More Time” was a phrase that was very often heard throughout the semifinals, as Marek Wartalowicz took on Jakub Przygonski and Norbert Kovacik went head to head with Szilveszter Gyorgy. With dangerously looking clouds in the horizon, drivers rushed towards finishing their runs as soon as possible. Having three 2JZ powered cars in the Top4 might lead to the idea that this engine is still one of the most capable out there when it comes to drifting. By the end of the Top4, Marek Wartalowicz and Norbert Kovacik were going into an all BMW small final, while the big final was reserved exclusively for the JDM fans, with Przygonski in his 2JZ GT86 and Szilveszter in his 2JZ RPS13. Shortly after the semifinals Karpacz went through some heavy rain, which meant the drivers would have to be extracarefull with the throttle and their transitions.
By the end of the day, Jakub Przygonski was off to a perfect MonsterEnergy King of Europe Drift ProSeries debut, winning the race at his first ever race in the series. Szilveszter was hoping to get a 3rd consecutive King of Europe victory this year, but being 2nd in the series is a very good thing as well. Marek Wartalowicz finished the race in 3rd, leaving Kovacik outside of the individual podium, but still leading the overall rankings after two races.
Photos Eyedea Media, King of Europe