|Fredric Aasbo in action at Long Beach|
credit: Larry Chen/SR by Toyota
2015 Formula Drift champ Fredric Aasbo picked up a podium finish on the Streets of Long Beach on Saturday, finishing second in spite of unpredictable conditions in the rainy Formula Drift season opener.
"This is where we want to be right now as we start our championship defense," said Aasbo. "To be on the podium in the first round is a great start to the year."
Conditions caused organizers to cancel qualifying and assign a seeded start for Saturday's competition, putting Aasbo in the No. 1 qualifying spot against a series rookie in the 32nd position during Saturday’s opening round.
"With conditions the way they were, Fredric did a great job behind the wheel to achieve our first podium of the year," said team owner Stephan Papadakis. "But I especially want to thank our crew for pushing through a challenging weekend to keep the car dialed in for this result."
"It was a wild event," said Aasbo. “It went from rain, to dry, to rain, to dry again and you never knew what you were facing. Getting the perfect setup was impossible and it's a credit to the expertise of the Papadakis Racing team that we were able to find a great compromise that got us through the course with style every time."
In Final Four competition, Aasbo faced Odi Bakchis in a match that judges deemed too close to call, prompting a "one more time" battle. Aasbo took the re-run to advance to the final round, where he faced eventual winner Chelsea DeNofa.
Aasbo’s SR by Toyota and Nexen Tire teammate Ken Gushi finished third, giving the automaker and tire maker the lead in their respective points chases after the first round on the eight-stop schedule.
"Long Beach is our home event and it's fantastic to start our season here in the company of our family and friends, including Rockstar Energy Drink, Nexen Tires and SR by Toyota," said Papadakis. "It was great to see so many enthusiastic fans out here supporting us in the rain."
The team returns to the street course in Long Beach next weekend for the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge invitational Friday and Saturday nights during the Long Beach Grand Prix IndyCar weekend. The second round of the 2016 Formula Drift Championship takes place May 6-7 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia.
Learn more about Aasbo and Papadakis Racing at www.fredricaasbo.com and www.papadakisracing.com. Learn more about Formula Drift at www.formulad.com.
Quotes in this piece provided by Papadakis Racing.