D1NZ National Drifting Championship points leader Cole Armstrong and third place sitter Dave Steedman got their first chance to test out the purpose built ASB Baypark Stadium drift circuit on Thursday evening.
Winners of the opening two rounds respectively, the pair were given the opportunity to test the circuit before the fleet of 80-drivers compete for Pro and Pro-Sport honours at round three of the D1NZ series.
By comparison to the polished concrete surface at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium for round one, the Baypark Stadium circuit proved to be abrasive. Armstrong and Steedman only managed two runs per set of rear tyres on the short and sharp circuit.
Armstrong said the circuit wasn't what he expected to be, but he's enjoying the layout he's been given.
"It's pretty wicked. It's not quite what I had thought it would be, but what we've got is awesome," said Armstrong.
"Dave and I did a few runs-it's absolutely unreal on the bank! I'm on the top of third gear entering at just over 100 kph and then obviously accelerating as we come around. I reckon when I come off for the first switch we're doing 140 kph.
"It definitely needs a lot more cars on the track. There's a lot of dust on it, but as we got more and more laps it's really started to lay a touch of rubber. I'm enjoying it. It's a little bit technical though through the final section."
Team DSR drifter Steedman echoed Armstrong's thoughts. He believed the circuit will suit the high horsepower cars who can lay their power down.
"I absolutely love the track-the big sweeping corner is mad and riding that wall is sick," said Steedman.
"The higher horsepower cars especially around that wall ride will probably be able to gain some advantage. But time will tell, it's hard to say until we start battling.
"The big issue at the moment is there's just still so much dust. The concrete itself is quite grippy, but the dust is hiding that. We already found on entry after a few runs it's gripping up. When there's 80 cars going out there tomorrow it will hopefully find it's natural line."
Unfortunately for Steedman his final run was curtailed by a suspected broken differential, which saw the team work through the night to get the car fit and ready for practice and qualifying.
The few test runs allowed the drivers and the judges an opportunity to get to grips with the tight and tricky final pair of corners. Armstrong and Steedman both spent their final few runs getting what they believed was the right line.
Armstrong said he's looking forward to competing in front of his home crowd where he hopes to take his second win in three rounds.
"We've got an awesome team and an awesome package whether or not it's at home. It's going to be awesome having my family and friends come to watch and show them what I do.
"Every round we're out there to win and that's what we're here to do this year. We'll keep our head down and keep the arse of that car smoking and doing what we do."