James Takes P3 in ATL, Holds Points Lead and Team RTR on Pole at Formula Drift ATL

James Takes P3 in ATL, Holds Points Lead and Team RTR on Pole at Formula Drift ATL

The 2024 Formula Drift season picked up where it left off… in the rain. Heavy storms would roll through the Atlanta area early making the first practice session a wash as little was to be learned with track conditions to dry and stay that way as the weekend progresses. The afternoon practice session did bring the smoke as the track had dried allowing drivers the opportunity to finally get dialled in for the evening’s seeding bracket and Saturday’s main event.

Having secured the top spot for Round 2 here at Road Atlanta, by way of his win in Long Beach, James would not need to participate in the seeding bracket leaving all eyes on Vaughn and Ben. In his battle, Ben would face Ryan Litteral and unfortunately the little practice in qualifying conditions would not be enough for Ben to advance to Saturday. In his season debut Vaughn was right back to winning in Atlanta and would unanimously get the win over Andy Hateley. In his second battle the judges would rule in favour of Joao Barion putting an end to Vaughn’s night, but his work was already done securing his spot in the Top 32 with the initial win.

This weekend at Road Atlanta had downs and ups, and I’m not just talking about the drift course layout. Having three RTR drivers for the first time this season Round 2 was a rollercoaster of emotions. Beginning with Thursday’s seeding bracket which saw a wave of bad luck strike both Vaughn and Ben leading to Ben’s failing to qualify, but Vaughn making the main event only to be pitted against top qualifier, points leader, and teammate, James Deane.

Vaughn and James faced off in the very first battle of the day with a crowd size of arguably unmatched proportions for at Top 32 battle. A battle which we knew would leave only one RTR driver remaining. Neither Vaughn nor James would leave anything on the track or in the judges hands as they sent it with James coming away with the win. Having notched out his first battle win of the day James would quickly go on to best Dylan Hughes and Matt Field before facing Fredric Aasbo in the final four. Champ on champ, Aasbo would defeat James, but as the events highest qualifier James would secure P3 for the event with the loss.

This would be two podiums in two events to start the 2024 season for James and three in a row dating back to last season. His consistency to begin the year has given him the points lead after two rounds heading to Round 3 Orlando in just three weeks’ time.