Published on December 5th, 2011 | by mrgrumpyninja0
D1NZ Round 2 from the judges perspective- by J Rood
This season the head judge of D1NZ is the man they call the godfather of drift in NZ, Justin Rood. Click on his name to read some of the history this man has been involved in.
Justin is a friend of the team here at MGNinc and has offered to give us an insight into what he sees each round from his seat in the judges box.
It’s written from a perspective of trying to give the drivers an insight into what goes on as Justin, and fellow judges Kyle ‘Manchild’ Jackways and Aaron ‘Simon Cowell of drift’ Bennett observe each run, I’ll also throw in a little mention here too for judges assistant Chloe Sellers who has to try and make sense of 3 people yelling at her and then managing to communicate it plus enter it into a result document.
Anyway, here is what he had to say about D1NZ round 2 at Pukekohe.
Round 2 review by Justin Rood
Sitting in the judges box for round 2 of D1NZ, I’m sure I wasn’t alone in thinking that the line we as judges had requested was proving very difficult even for most of the top drivers, and then there was Darren Benjamin. With his ‘loose’ setup he could hang out in the space that the judges requested even with his 186km/h entries. A lot of the drivers were it seemed either afraid or simply not used to pushing out wide after initiating, that could be for a number of reasons with the track being quite wild off the race line and most of the D1NZ drivers haven’t had much track time at Pukekohe recently. Another factor would be car setups that are so traction focused they make this line so much more difficult. Judging is what it is tho, and conditions were the same for all, if we kept asking for the same thing all the time there would be no progression. ‘Fanga‘ Dan Woolhouse had the fastest entry recorded at up to 196km/h and still managed a reasonable line although not perfect. I felt that if most drivers had focused on the line more during practice and then added in a big early entry to their run, later on the overall driver performance would have been 10x better.
Gaz Whiter commented that he had to get off the throttle to get out wide enough, but then lost control of the rear without enough wheel speed due mainly to a traction focused wheel alignment setup, which in turn mucked the rest of his run up as he could not get back into the inside of the sweeper from the judges tower onwards.
What most drivers seemed to be doing was initiating nice and early but driving straight into the inside line really early. This made it very difficult to get back to the right hand clip before Castrol as they ended up apexing the sweeper and pushing wide again at the exit. Only a few drivers even made it close to the right hand zone with this line and they had to really work it! Curt Whittaker managed it a few times as did Cole Armstrong who would eventually grab #2 qualifying spot. After meeting with the drivers just before qualifying we did notice a definite improvement in the line from most drivers but still not 100% of what we’d asked for, hence the large number of low scores in the 50-60 point bracket.
Darren Benjamin seemed almost in a class of his own, while other drivers such as 1 season pro Robbie Nelson and Matt ‘Chucky’ Jackson were trying hard to get out into the space but struggled due to a lack of experience on this track to make it stick.
Personally I was impressed with the angle I saw from Daynom Templeman in practice and qualifying, and Andrew Redward had some of the best runs hands down in practice before breaking the Nankang Silvia, max angle, max smoke and still quite fast. It was a real shame he could not continue on in his car because he would definitely have been a force to reckon with. I look forward to seeing more of this kind of driving at Taupo from these guys!
In final battle the judges had advantage to Cole due to slightly weak angle from Curt to maintain close proximity until Cole’s chase run where he made a small mistake heading into Castrol and handed the win to Curt. Angle aside this win was well deserved by Curt as he made no obvious mistakes to get his cars big black ass through to the top spot.
I hope this helps some drivers out and also the fans watching, if you have any other questions about your runs, obtain some footage and I can explain what we were looking for based on the footage. Please don’t ask me to remember it as my memory is not quite that good yet haha (MGN- he’s also very old and getting forgetful)