Motorsport: Woolhouse leads charge in drifting series

By Cameron Leslie

Whangarei drifters return to the track tomorrow as they look to power past the halfway point during round four of the Cody's D1NZ National Drifting Championship at Hampton Downs.

Local drifter Daniel "Fanga Dan" Woolhouse will be looking to consolidate his early season points lead.

Woolhouse has won two of the three rounds so far, one of which was held in Whangarei, and has a comfortable 75-point lead over second-placed Andrew Redward, and 82 more than defending Cody's D1NZ champion Curt Whittaker.

Woolhouse said there weren't any secrets behind his wins, except that he was having fun.

"I'm just relaxed," said Woolhouse. "I'm trying to keep consistent, trying to podium and qualify really good. I think I'm driving better and better after each round because there's not as much pressure.

"Heaps of work has gone into the cars [since the last round], just crossing the t's and dotting the i's, making sure we're on top of all the maintenance."

Woolhouse, a former D1NZ champion, lost a close-fought battle with Whittaker in the opening round at Manfeild in October last year.

But Woolhouse has since been unbeatable. He claimed a popular home victory at the second round in Whangarei in December before backing that up with a second temporary course victory at the Baypark Stadium in Bay of Plenty in January.

"Heaps of people are giving me good feedback about the car. I guess the hard work has been paying off," said Woolhouse.

Fellow Northlander and three-time former D1NZ champion Gaz Whiter has struggled to stay in touch this series after having been in the wars, clashing with Curt Whittaker in Whangarei and then hitting the wall hard at Baypark.

The two-day meeting has again attracted 60 entries in the D1NZ and Pro-Am classes. As well as all the top local drivers, Queenslander Rob Whyte, the reigning Just Car Insurance Australian Drifting GP series champion, is also competing.

Crowd favourite "Mad Mike" Whiddett has been impressive in qualifying at all three rounds but after finishing third at the first one, he was eliminated in the battles at Whangarei and Baypark and lies sixth in the points standings.

The round will also see well-known V8 racers Angus Fogg, Dean Perkins, Clark Proctor and Shane Wigston take on their drift counterparts in a legends' battle.

The Hampton Downs round is the fourth of six for the 2012-13 D1NZ championship series, with the fifth in Christchurch at the end of March and the sixth and final round at Pukekohe Park Raceway in April.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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