Whiddett's win sets up tight final

By Shane Conza

Heat is on in race for national drifting title, reports Shane Conza

''Mad Mike'' Whiddett in action at last weekends D1NZ round in Christchurch. Photo / Blake Lewis
''Mad Mike'' Whiddett in action at last weekends D1NZ round in Christchurch. Photo / Blake Lewis

Back behind the wheel of his Mazda RX7, "Mad Mike" Whiddett was once again atop the D1NZ national drifting championship podium, taking round five of the series, held at Christchurch last weekend.

Fresh from his near flawless win at Hampton Downs last month, Whiddett qualified in sixth place, narrowly behind local driver Cody Collis in his Nissan S13 Silvia.

From then on Whiddett and Collis were on a warpath throughout the top 16, ending up in a showdown for the top spot in round five.

Collis almost had what would have been on of D1NZ's biggest upsets in the bag going into the final against Whiddett.

Although triumphing against one of the scene's most seasoned veterans is no easy task, it looked to be a very possible outcome for the young Christchurch driver.

But his Nissan suffered an untimely electrical fault, handing the win to Whiddett - to the dismay of the home crowd.

As well as winning round five and maintaining his second placing on the championship leader board, Whiddett also secured the BP Ultimate Triple Crown series-within-a-series win.

This entitled him to receive a year's worth of BP Ultimate 98 octane fuel for his efforts over the past three rounds.

After championship points leader Dan "Fanga" Woolhouse left the top 16 early on in the day, 2011/2012 season Pro Am winner Cam Vernon was able to make his way through the top 16 with what seemed like ease over the course of the day.

Driving a Nissan R32 Skyline, Vernon even beat the highly respected Andrew Redwood after his Mazda RX7 broke an axle.

Unfortunately for Vernon, he narrowly missed out on a podium finish succumbing to eventual third place winner Drew Donavan in his Nissan S15 Silvia.

While Woolhouse is still at the top of the table after round five, Whiddett and Andrew Redwood are within 40 points of the lead.

This means the final round of the championship, to be held at Auckland's Pukekohe Raceway, will be of great importance in deciding how this season will pan out.

With last season's champion, Cole Armstrong, and promising up and comer Nico Reid completing the top five drivers going into the final, the rounds will be tightly fought.

- NZ Herald

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