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FIA IDC: Bikernieki welcomes world’s best drifters

  • gb

Riga is set to host the 2021 FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup this weekend, with Bikernieki becoming the first European venue in the history of the world’s premier drifting competition.

The drivers already got the feel of the track taking part in Friday’s practice affected by heavy rain, which added to the challenge.

Nevertheless, the drifters completed the FIA IDC scrutineering in good spirits ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session and Tandem Battles.

The new chapter in the history of the FIA IDC was officially opened at the pre-event press conference held on Friday evening.

“I think most important is to make the best show in the world,” said Dmitry Dobrovolsky, the CEO of Russian Drift Series, the promoter of the 2021 FIA IDC. “We can do this, because we have the strongest line-up of participants in the history [of the event] here.”

“And I would like to see smiles on the faces, but this time it’s impossible, because we all have to wear masks”, he added.

The man to beat this weekend will be Georgy “Gocha” Chivchyan, two-times FIA IDC winner, who praised the first European venue in the history of world’s top drifting competition.

“This track is very special because you feel two or three types of tarmac and this is interesting to understand. The first corner is very grippy, the second turn is totally different, so this will be very interesting. We had good results here in the past and I like this place”, he concluded.

One of his main rivals this weekend will be FIA IDC rookie James “The Machine” Deane who remains a Bikernieki specialists. “It’s my first FIA IDC event, so it’s new for me, but I'm really happy to be back here in Latvia.”

“I've been coming here since 2014 once a year and every time it was enjoyable. Bikernieki is probably my favourite track in the world. It’s extremely fast and technical and it definitely has a special place in my heart. We’ve had a lot of success here”.

The youngest driver of the 2021 FIA IDC, 16-year old local hero Nikolass Bertans joined his more decorated rivals at the press conference. “I may have a little less experience, so I'm really happy to have the opportunity to drive against such great drivers, share opinions after the runs and help each other to improve”, he summarised.

The event format consists of qualifying and the Tandem Battle tournament. In Qualifying, each driver gets two non-consecutive runs on the course aiming to fulfill the judging criteria. The Top 32 advances to the knock-out format Tandem Battle tournament.

New for 2021, a Team Title will also be awarded for the first time to a competitor who has earned the most points by the end of the competition. To be eligible for the Teams Title, a competitor must have either two or three cars taking part in the competition.

David Kalas, Vernon Zwaneveld and Haiko Simonian will be in charge of judging the world’s best drifters at this year’s FIA IDC.

David Kalas from the Czech Republic has worked at competitions in 15 countries worldwide, including the Drift Masters European Championship, the Japanese D1GP and the RDS GP. A member of the FIA Drifting Commission as Judges’ Representative, Kalas was the head of the team that developed the template for Drifting Sporting Regulations before the event.

The next one is Vernon Zwaneveld, one of the fathers of drifting in Belgium and the Netherlands. Zwaneveld is one of the official judges of the Drift Kings competition and judge of the FIA Motorsport Games.

Last but not least, Haiko Simonian is a specialist with impressive experience. He was one of the organizers of the Belarus Drifting Championship in 2009 and the Eastern European Drift Championship a year after. Since Simonian began his drifting judge career in 2010, he has worked in Russia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Poland, and several other countries.

Launched in 2017, the FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup is the first-ever drifting competition sanctioned by the governing body of world motor sport, the FIA.

The primary three editions were held in the spiritual home of the sport – Japan, but for 2021, following a year-long hiatus, the world’s premier drifting competition moves to Europe, held under the stewardship of a new promoter, Russian Drift Series LLC.

Following an official tender process throughout 2020, the FIA appointed Russian Drift Series LLC as the new promoter of the FIA IDC for an initial three-year term covering the 2021 to 2023 seasons. After a recommendation by the FIA Drifting Commission, the appointment was approved at last December’s meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council.