Heinonen dominates to top qualifying in Sweden’s Drive Centre arena

Today, Sweden’s Drivecenter Arena bore witness to an incredible display of both talent and drama as Round 2 of the 2023 Drift Masters European Championship (DMEC) got underway with our second qualifying session of the season. A grid of 51 incredibly-talented drivers from 16 nations across the globe descended upon the circuit, which sits just outside the Arctic Circle, to see who would make it into tomorrow’s Top 32 battle action.

When the dust has settled, it would be Finnish fan-favourite driver Lauri Heinonen who would follow on from a second-place finish overall at Round 1 to emerge as the best of the day with 2 consistent 91-point runs, leaving the rest of the grid in a trail of his tire smoke whilst securing himself an impressive first place qualifying finish, lining himself up a first battle of the day with Swedish wildcard driver, Alfred Grindberg.

Our reigning champion and current championship points leader, Piotr Wiecek, showed his unquestionable talent once again, securing himself a second-place finish with an impressive 90-point run, setting up a Top 32 battle with Ukrainian driver, Alex Holovnia when Top 32 action gets underway once again tomorrow.

Rounding out the top 3 qualifiers was a delighted Norwegian driver Orjan Nilsen who put in an 89-point run, setting up a Top 32 battle against Swedish man Pontus Hartman tomorrow.

Finnish driver and reigning WRC champion, Kalle Rovanpera, would manage to come fourth overall today, but not without some hardship. Rovanpera would score a zero on his first run, leaving himself all to do on his second run. But that he would, as he scored a matching 89-point run to cement fourth place and a battle with Swedish wildcard Viktor Wettemark in the Top 32.

And the last of our top 5 qualifying positions would be taken by Polish driver Kuba Przygonski, whose 88-point score sees him go up against fellow Polish driver Dawid Karkosik in his top 32 battle.

Uncharacteristically, however, the day would not go so well for last year’s winner here in Sweden, Jack Shanahan and his brother Conor, who would end up in 19th & 16th places, respectively, as they fought mechanical issues throughout the day, meaning they have it all to do tomorrow if they’re to keep their championship fight alive.

Of course, though, the action doesn’t stop with qualifying; Our 32 highest-scoring drivers from today now turn their attention to tomorrow, where at 2.00 pm local Swedish time, we’ll get Round 2’s Top 32 battles underway here at the Drivecenter Arena.

With plenty of drama on- and off-track today and plenty of drivers set for a long night ahead fixing their cars for tomorrow’s battles, it’s time for you, our amazing DMEC fans, to get excited for what might turn out to be one of the craziest DMEC events we’ve ever witnessed.

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