Vaughn Gittin Jr wins back to back Formula-D championships

Ending in a heated battle against Justin Pawlak in Round 4, Vaughn Gittin Jr takes double PRO Championship at Round 3 and 4 of Formula Drift in Seattle.

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Final battle between Pawlak and Gittin
Final battle between Pawlak and Gittin | Formula Drift photos

Round Two of PRO2 as well as Round Three and Four of PRO occurred this past weekend at Evergreen Speedway in Seattle without spectators. In both rain and shine, Vaughn Gittin Jr claimed first in both rounds of PRO in his Monster Energy / Nitto Tire / Ford Performance Mustang RTR Spec 5-D.

Vaughn Gittin Jr celebrating his second win of the weekend for a double first place podium finish

As an adjustment to the impact from COVID-19, Formula Drift strategically formatted their 2020 season to reflect a more condensed competition featuring back to back rounds in a single weekend with the elimination of qualifying. 

One of the most daunting aspects of the Seattle rounds are the outer zone one bank that had several victims over the weekend.  To top it off rain was a big factor during the entire weekend.  The Pro2 competition unfortunately was almost completely on a wet track while practice the day before was on dry.  The weather changes were a true testament to the driver skill as well as each team’s ability to dial in their competition cars to overcome the changes.  Round Two of PRO2 ended with Dmitriy Brutskiy in the Essa Motorsport / Never Settle / Achilles Radial BMW as the first place podium finisher, Chase Schmidt in second, and Austin Matt in third.  Currently Brutskiy is tied in the PRO2 Championship overall with Joshua Love with 164 points.

Making this event even more challenging during the Friday and Saturday Pro competition days was the inconsistencies of dry and wet track patches from the intervals of Seattle rain.  Track staff periodically did their best to dry the track as much as time would allow.  Coming off the bank into outer zone two, was a very dangerous patch of wet track that tended to throw drivers offline and into yet another wet patch in outer zone three. 

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One of the victims was Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis, a veteran of the spot whom collied with the wall during the morning warm-up of Round Three.  Considerable damage was made to his Falken Tire / Feal Suspension Nissan S15, but in order to remain in competition Bakchis and his team made the necessary repairs and ran with no front bodywork and an inoperable supercharger.  Unfortunately, Bakchis only made it to Top 16 and was knocked out by Vaughn Gittin Jr on his way to the Round Three win.  Joining Gittin on the podium was Frederic Aasbo in second, and Michael Essa in third.

Round Four went down as one of the events that will help evolve the Formula D rulebook.  In the final battle between Vaughn Gittin Jr and Justin Pawlak, a controversial move by Gittin to pass in an inside clip lead to contact and a very thorough review by the judges Ryan Lanteigne, Brian Eggert and new to the panel for 2020 Chris Uhl.  Based on the current rules, Gittin was deemed at fault for the contact and a “one more time” was called after a chase run by Justin Pawlak was determined to have enough mistakes to not have a clear winner.  Pawlak fought hard for first, but Gittin ended up taking the win for a back to back win.  Currently leading the 2020 PRO Championship overall is Ryan Tuerck with 272 points, Vaughn Gittin Jr with 264 points, and Frederic Aasbo with 236 points.

Learn more about Formula Drift by visiting their website.

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An experienced automotive motorsports photographer and enthusiast of all things with wheels, Rebecca Nguyen is the Marketing Manager of ClassicCars.com. Former Marketing and Project Coordinator for several aftermarket brands, Rebecca has a unique perspective developed from being on several different sides of the automotive world. From developing innovative automotive products to doing her own DIY modifications on her 2003 Subaru WRX and 2014 Ducati Monster, Rebecca’s passion for the hobby brings fresh ideas to The Journal. In addition, she has spent many years publishing event coverage for events like SEMA, Formula Drift, and Global RallyCross while coordinating the annual Future Collector Car Show in Scottsdale Arizona.

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