Drew 'Doni D' Donovan has won the latest round of the Link ECU D1NZ National Drifting Championship — the first D1NZ win of his career.
The Tauranga local won by virtue of defeating fellow local driver Cole Armstrong, in an extended final battle.
The pairing earned their spots by beating former series champions Gaz Whiter and 'Fanga Dan' Woolhouse respectively. Mechanical issues from Whiter saw Woolhouse inherit third place on the podium.
The final battle began with a straightforward lead run from Armstrong — Donovan chasing effectively. The switched subsequent run was much more dramatic; Donovan spinning at the exit of the teardrop after Armstrong was judged to have made minor contact.
Despite the spin judges called a 'one-more-time' re-run, which effectively equalized the playing field.
The resulting battle was near impossible to split; both drivers looking near faultless behind the wheel with no contact between each other and very few moments of hesitation. Judges eventually sided with Donovan and his Toyota Supra; crowning him in front of the local crowd.
The event had numerous close fights during the top 24 and top 16 battles; including tight battles between Armstrong and Virgin Australia Supercars driver Shane van Gisbergen.
Having qualified 12th, van Gisbergen had to battle against the defending series champion in his first hit out — losing narrowly.
The series now prepares to travel to Timaru for the first time, for next month's round three on March 9–10.