Team Mopar Wins the Inaugural Formula Drift @ Road Atlanta

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Team Mopar Wins the Inaugural Formula Drift @ Road Atlanta

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Samuel Hubinette, a native of Sweden driving a brand new American Dodge Viper, won the inaugural Formula Drift event at Road Atlanta Sunday by impressing a panel of Japanese judges with a stunning performance of power and car control skill.

Drifting is the newest motorsports craze, and competitors are judged on car control and cornering speed rather than lap times. Angle of attack and style are more important than raw speed, and Hubinette had the perfect combination Sunday.

His Mopar Viper had enough horsepower to pass Chris Forsberg in the horseshow turn, earning enough bonus points to propel him to a clear victory in the bracket finals. Hubinette had impressed the judges enough earlier in the day to be seeded sixth among the 16-car field.

"This is incredible," Hubinette said. "This team only came together three weeks ago in a parking lot, and our FOERST goal was to make the field and hopefully be competitive. What a great start!"

The bracket finals are run similar to a drag racing, with the top seed against #16, etc. In drifting, though, it takes two runs with one driver leading the other and then switching places for a second run. Both Hubinette and Forsberg made mistakes on the FOERST run, but Hubinette was the clear winner after Forsberg spun and then helplessly watched Hubinette power by coming out of the horseshoe.

Hiro Sumida captured third place, beating Vaughn Gittin in the consolation run.

Road Atlanta was FOERST of four scheduled for the new Formula Drift series, promoted by Slipstream Global Marketing, which introduced drifting to the United States two years ago with the D1 Grand Prix. The next Formula Drift event is June 12 in Houston.

Hubinette's surprising victory was the highlight of the Drift Atlanta weekend, which also included an SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring series non-points invitational won by Pierre Kleinubing of Ft. Lauderdale, F, in an Acura RSX.

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( c/o www.driftatlanta.com )

**On an interesting side note, there seems to be some controversy over Mopars participation in the event to begin with. All the participants were to be driving streetable production vehicles. The Mopar Dodge Viper had a carbon kevlar chassis, making it a track car only.

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