Thursday, 30. June
17:00 The pirate crew gathers. Martin Aeppli from Silverpics.ch and Chris from AC Lightaddicted take care of the photography side of things while Stefan Zollinger volunteered as the mechanic. So cool you guys decided to join in! We start off towards Czechia. 11 hours to go!
19:00 Stefan takes over as the driver of the trailer. I sit in the back behind the tinted windows, smoking and chilling out. Feeling like a rock star.
23:00 Aeppli takes over as the driver. Me still sitting in the back being useless. Nice
Friday, 1. July
4:30 I wake up by the vibrations of the trailer car hitting the curbs of the racetrack. We arrived in the early morning, the sun just about to set. Why does it get bright so early in Czechia? Fuuck
4:40 We sleep in the trailer car like a horde of stinking dogs and feed on candy from the petrol station. yeeeah
7:00 Woken up far too early by Philippe Guillod being loud outside the car. Feeling like crap but I crack open my first red bull. Suddenly feeling better. Nice.
7:30 More and more cars arriving. Only 9 IDS PRO Drifters took the long journey to Czechia, plus some IDS Street drivers. But this is a “mixed round” between IDS drifters and Czech Drift Series drivers. They will all clash together in a extravaganza of Top32 drift battles. Even the Street class drive twin-battles here in Czechia, that’s mad cool!
7:45 We build up our small tent and unload our stuff. From Team Speed Industries, it’s just my own car so not much to do. We finish some work on the S14 instead like using duct tape to hold together bits that are falling off.
8:00 Briefing. The boss of the Czech drift series plus his helpers, and the judges arrived. Really funny and cool dudes. All layed back atmosphere, awesome! Jörg Söhner, boss of IDS is there too. Good vibes. Judges are mixed Czech judges and Belgian (Andy Jaenen) so a very nice lineup.
8:30 Practice sessions start. Finally some smokey action! Feeling good, car running solid right now. First time since a long time the car produces proper smoke since the engine is running well! Weather is not too hot but pretty good with some clouds. The track is awesome with a maaad entry that throws you against a wall, then flick over a huge pile of tires, then back to a wall. It’s a double wall run, never experienced something like this before but it was awesooome!
8:55 Engine starts misfiring when hot. Fuck. Hustling ensues to find the issue, change spark plugs, coil packs, search for electric issues, etc.
11:00 Misfire problem located, but can’t fix it on site. Wire of CAS broken. Use duct tape to fix it. Must replace melting duct tape every 6-8 laps or misfires start again. Nooo
11:15 Having a hilarious time with Stefan running some sweet practice laps. We weren’t allowed to do tandem battles with other drivers for some reason..
11:30 so we still sneak in full throttle when one guy launches off for practice to chase him down a bit and check out his line! wooo!
11:32 The track marshal gives me a lecture on what they call “safety”. We stop chasing people down
11:45 Suspension suddenly feeling funky. Right wheel has massive toe out, but tie rods are not broken. Started doing manual alignment with Stefans help. For some reason, right wheel keeps changing toe settings. Stefan is doomed to do at least 25 manual wheel alignments during the course of this weekend. Poor guy feeling the curse of the S14!
12:00 By now, some cars already crashed. The track is hardcore since 2 clipping points *are* the wall! I’m loving it but some others don’t since their vehicles now look like crumbled rotten bananas after some nice car-to-wall contact.
13:00 More practice till noon. The track is a tire killer – already destroyed 6 new tires and it’s only afternoon of day 1!
15:00 Managed to pull off nice runs, good speed, line and starting to get very close to the wall by now. Setup feeling pretty solid apart from the misfires and steering issues. Need to stop drifting now or I will run out of tires. Decided to continue practice the next day.
17:00 More crashes and madness happening. The boss of the czech drift series said he will give 100 Crowns to the person who does the first proper “wallrub”. Christian Kögler took this very seriously and rubbed the wall perfectly! Unfortunately he tried to do it again on the next lap and crashed hard into the wall. He was laughing loudly after it happened and applied about 3 rolls of duct tape to hold his car together again. What a brilliant man!
18:00 Hanging out with the guys from MPS engineering. Such awesome dudes, having a nice BBQ and some music. More and more mad Czech drivers arriving. Even a full drift team arrives who takes it very seriously with a full tent setup, 4 PRO drivers and even a flatscreen TV showing their latest movies. Pretty sure they stole all these ideas from Team Speed Industries.
21:30 Starting to feel like shit now. Tired, not showered since forever, not eaten properly except for dinner, been working on the cursed car all day. Must check into hotel and go to sleep early. No party, lame.
Saturday, 2. June
8:00 Get up early. Briefing. Czech drift boss a bit more serious today. “NO BEERS IN THE CARS PLEASE!” he announces. Seems some people liked to drink & drift on the laid back practice day, or maybe it was just a joke. Thought it was extremely funny in any case.
9:00 More practice and drift taxi rides. Took a Czech taxi passenger, couldn’t communicate due to language barrier. However I understood his screams of fear when I almost scraped the wall full throttle at the limiter with mental entry speed. Must learn to take it easy on taxi rides or I’ll have a heart attack victim in my passenger seat soon.
11:00 Weather getting worse. Still dry but freezing cold. At least the engine misfires are gone because it’s getting colder. Stefan still doing a new front wheel alignment every 10 laps on my car. Shit!
13:00 Qualifying time! Despite the issues with the car was feeling very confident for qualifying, had some brilliant practice runs madly close to wall. Feeling good right now.
13:15 Starting my qualifying. Track still dry. 1 warmup lap, 3 hot laps. Starting warmup lap…
13:16 The timing on this might sound unbelievable but: My rear brake line explodes right in the middle of the warmup lap, just before first hot lap. Nearly no brake pressure on both e-brake and foot brake. Cool. No way back, I’m already in qualifying now.
13:17 I decide to still try running quali since there’s still some brake pressure when pumping! However flying in towards the wall it turns out to be very scary. If I brake, it will either not brake, or lock up all four wheels! Trying best to somehow keep the car stable to put in at least one good qualifying run. Giving up after 2 terrible laps and an almost-accident at the wall. Rolling back into the pits. Not feeling good now. Aready had to give up at the JDM Allstars event in Anneau du Rhin during qualifying and now this.. Nooooo
14:00 Problem located. Blown brake line from hydro-brake. need new brake lines
15:00 Trying to source brake lines on track while at the same time trying to properly fix misfiring issues, and somehow finding tires to burn since I’m practically out of tires. Very stressful, not enjoying at all right now. Cold as shit too and it starts raining. Nooo!
16:00 Driving to different towns and places to find somebody who can repair or provide new brake lines. All shops closed already. About to give up, pack my things and go back home.
17:00 Decide to try fixing the brakes for one more hour. Luckily the incredible guys from a Danish team of “keep drifting fun” drifters who are sponsored by Falken are right next to our tent. One of their drivers turns out to be a mechanic ace with lots of spare parts in his huge truck.
17:30 The dude just made new brake lines out of fuckin spaghetti or something -unbelievable. He even got the right connectors for my UK-brand hydro brake. This is epic!
18:00 Nearly installed the new in-prompto brake line.. soon to begin bleeing the system. Guy keeps coming over to ask if it’s working. So cool! Feeling much better already. Still lots of work to do on the car though.
19:00 We start another BBQ session with the cool MPS dudes. woooo
19:30 A mad “Rallycross” race starts on the same track! Everyone watching monstrous rally cars battling it out on the drift track. Just myself and Stefan trying to fix the S14 instead of watching. Too bad but it must be done!
20:00 Everyone coming over to ask if the car can be repaired. So nice to have this support from all the drivers and from our Crew!!
21:00 It looks like the car is finally fixed. Brakes have full pressure and no leaks any more. Can’t wait to test it on raceday.
21:15 Qualification results are out. I sucked as expected – 18th place out of 27 in qualifying. That means I will have to battle in the Top32 before getting into Top16. The best 7 qualifiers will skip top32 battles and already in the Top16.
21:30 The danish and Czech guys going mental in the pits! Loud music, lots of people, good mood. They start doing maaad burnouts right inside their tents! It was great until the boss of the track arrived and stopped the madness. He arrived just when one dude was doing a 60-second 2nd-gear burnout with his fully built R32 GT-S sporting a monstrous RB20 engine and NOS. The tent was filled with smoke for the next 5 minutes. The crowd went wiiiild. So awesome.
23:00 Went back to hotel, we had a very stressful and cold day. Sleep relatively early and hope for good weather for competition day!
Sunday, 3. June – Battle Day!
8:00 Battle briefing. The judges explained very detailed what they want to see. Nice! Brilliant judges so far. Horrible weather, pouring down rain like there’s no tomorrow.
9:00 Short practice session. Trying to find a setup that has some grip in the wet conditions. Only have Infinity tires left. Terrible terrible grip in the wet. Front semi slicks are also worn out, bad grip on front wheels. Reduced tire pressure massively, changed rear toe settings for smoother transitions. Car is a bitch to drive but starting to get used to it… feeling more confident again.
10:00 Street Class battles start. Went to watch. Cool to see street drivers going mad in 1on1 battles! No crashes and some cool battles could be seen! Some of these drivers should be in the PRO class.
12:00 Another practice session. Stole the front tires off my trailer car since I hoped they have better grip in the wet. Running very low tire pressure, car starts feeling better in the wet. Steering issues not so bad now in the rain, since there’s less force ripping around on the broken steering rack. Nice.
13:00 Top32 driver presentations in front of the crowds. The S14′s clutch dies while waiting in line. FUCK! Feeling terrible again, not much time before my first battle; we must find a solution for the clutch.
13:05 Assuming it’s a leak in the clutch somewhere, it’s pissing out transmission oil. Air in the system. Trying to bleed the system manually. Seems to work at first but clutch starts acting up again after pushing a few times.
13:30 Time for the battle against Oli Harsch. Not feeling confident due to the clutch feeling weird. Luckily, stealing tires of my trailer car was a good idea – I have more grip than Oli and manage to win the battle! Lucky it’s raining, in the dry it would’ve been much harder to beat Harsch!
13:40 Stefan Zollinger bleeding my clutch and filling up the catch tank after every lap. He asks me to stop abusing the clutch. My reply: “How the fuck am I supposed to do that? Drift or Die!”
14:00 Top16 battle against a strong Czech BMW driver. Guy is mad, so close to wall. I copy his line as good as possible, clutch holds the abuse. Pulled a 5:5 draw in my chase run. Then I put down a very nice lead run but he copied my line perfectly. Another 5:5.
14:10 One more time against the Czech dude. Going absolutely mental on my lead run, almost scraping the wall. Pulled a 6:4 advantage. In the chase run managed another 5:5 making me the victor by a very close margin. Couldn’t believe I won it, screaming in joy!
14:15 Bleeding the clutch again, trying to get air out the system. Clutch feeling worse and worse every time. Can’t get in gear often, clutch starts slipping. The new brake line also starts leaking again, less brake pressure than before but still driveable. Luckily it’s still raining!
14:30 Top8 battle against another Czech guy from aforementioned Czech Drift Team. Very strong driver, watched him during practice. Mad close to wall. Must be mentally prepared to crash my car to beat this guy.
14:33 My chase run was bad, struggling to keep up with the guy with the various issues on my car. 6:4 advantage for him.
14:35 Going mental on my lead run, but that guy is fast and chases quite closely! I already thought it’s game over but for the first time this weekend I’m lucky – he spins out right before the finish, handing me the win! OH YES Top4 here we go!
14:40 Stefan wants to bleed my clutch again. But not enough time, must line up for Top4 battle already. Fuck!
14:42 Top4 battle against Patrick Ritzmann. The guy had epic grip in the wet with his Uniroyal rain tires! This will be haaard. Can’t get into gear due to the clutch bitching around. Stall the car, ram it into gear before starting engine and launch off. Trying not to use the clutch now as it keeps sticking to the ground.
Feels like driving a flaming cannonball that’s held together by zipties and hope.
14:43 My chase run was crap but weirdly I could almost keep up with Patze’s epic grip compensating with later braking. I later heard his engine was also overheating so he couldn’t give full throttle out of the corners. Rain has stopped, track starts to dry up. Very shitty conditions for me – parts of the track very slippery, other parts are dry and grippy. Can’t clutch kick or clutch will stick to the ground. Fuck! I straighten out during the chase run. Nooo!
14:50 For my lead run decide to go super-mental since I knew Patze has the advantage. It’s either crash, spin or win.
14:52 Unfortunately, it ends in a spin from me since I overdid it with my entry speed after the wall section. Patze being cool as usual – clapping and laughing and having a good time right after the battle.
14:55 Wanted to bleed clutch again for the “small Final” against Wertheim, the Czech Drift champion of last year’s Czech drift season. Not enough time to bleed clutch, must drive again without using it too much. Shiiit
15:00 Chase run against Wertheim – he’s driving very well and precise. I had enough grip to keep up but couldn’t really control the car by now. No e-brake / clutchkicks in the semi-dry conditions resulted in a very very weak chase run. Score is 8:2 for him.
15:05 Must step up my game to have a chance now. Tried to go mental one more time, but straightened out various times during my lead run in the dry sections of the track, just couldn’t stay sideways with mad grip on the rear and the slipping clutch. My car is finished now. Too bad, but still feeling happy.
In the end, Michael Scherr takes 1st place, with Patrick Ritzmann taking 2nd place. Wertheim who beat me in the small final got 3rd place and me 4th overall.
However since Wertheim is no IDS PRO drifter his score didn’t count for the IDS trophy. That meant I was still in 3rd place for the IDS cup, woooo!
Congratulations to all of you, awesome to see Michael Scherr and Patze on the podium. Great drivers, cool dudes and they’ve been fighting so hard for this.
Wertheim and all the other Czech drivers were also so laid back, it was very cool finally connecting with the drift scene up there! So many thanks as well to Jörg Söhner from the IDS commitee, and everyone involved in the organization. It was an unforgettable event for me, even though we were just repairing the car most of the time.
Hope to see everybody soon at IDS Round 4 in Lausitz. Just 3 weeks to go until then, so I better get my car fixed.
So until then, goodnight.
And some bonus pics