The fourth race of the Drift Kings International Series took place over the weekend of July 15-16 at the Rabocsiring track in Hungary. The weather conditions mirrored those of Cyprus, featuring scorching temperatures that unfortunately led to overheating problems for a number of drivers. The event featured 50 drivers from 16 countries competing in the Pro, Pro2, and Queen categories. The track design offered a combination of high-speed corners, challenging technical sections, and aggressive open corners. The Pro2/Queen categories used a different track layout, featuring a more technical line suitable for lower horsepower cars. The program started on Saturday at 9:00, with drivers receiving instructions from the judges regarding the track layout and expectations. This was followed by training for all competitors, and at 17:00, the highlight of the day unfolded with a qualification session.
In the Pro category, Giorgos Christoforou “Ela Koko” secured first place with 84 points. Luca Fuschini from Italy also accumulated 84 points but settled for second place due to a lower score in the second pass. Artur Havrylenko from Ukraine completed the top three with 76 points. The Pro2 category witnessed significant surprises, as a newcomer to the league, Tas Bence Kozma from Hungary, obtained the highest score of 81 points. Robert Horensky from Slovakia claimed second place with 79 points, while Deimante Radzeviciute also secured the third spot with 79 points. In the Queen category, Deimantė Radzevičiūtė again took first place with 79 points, followed by championship leader Sandra Janušauskaitė with 54 points. Mirella Vernacchia finished third in the qualification with 43 points. Sunday is race day; the program began at 9:00 with briefing and qualification results. The judges then provided expectations for the tsuiso battles, which were followed by the last training session.
In the Pro category’s twin battles, Giorgos Christoforou, current Pro series leader and multiple champion of Cyprus, delivered an outstanding performance. He successively eliminated Rafal Barzycki from Poland and Gediminas Levickas from Lithuania. In the semifinals, he faced Michal Wojtan from Poland, whom he also defeated, advancing to the grand final. He emerged victorious over Luca Fuschini of Italy, who had claimed the previous victory at this track just two months prior. The third place was not held, as Rafal Kochanowski could not continue due to an injury sustained after completing his pass against Artur Havrylenko. Consequently, Michal Wojtan secured third place on the podium. Giorgos Christoforou, the race winner and current Pro series leader, expressed his excitement: “The fourth race of the Drift Kings International Series, and our third participation, has concluded. Finishing first in Hungary has propelled me to the top of the championship rankings, with a comfortable 94-point lead over second place. I am overjoyed. Securing the third consecutive win also grants us the overall victory, as we dominated the qualification on an exceptionally challenging track where every mistake has consequences. I am immensely proud, knowing the difficulty and level of skill required on this track. The team’s meticulous car preparation and setup paid off, utilizing data from the previous year, allowing us to have a competitive car without much trouble.”
“We started with training on Saturday, gradually pushing for the perfect run. We showcased our determination to win from the beginning of the qualification. Impressions from these laps resonated positively among our competitors and spectators, boosting my confidence in preparing for Sunday’s race.” “In the twin battles, I faced strong opponents, making each battle feel like a final battle. The Cypriot team executed flawlessly, ensuring the car performed at its best while I remained rested despite the unbearable heat. All the sacrifices and efforts paid off in the end, and now we set our sights on the next race in Serres in October, hoping to maintain our strong performance. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the friends who sent messages, shared our performances, and watched the event. It brings me immense joy to feel the support from all my friends in Cyprus and Greece. I would also like to extend a big thank you to my team, whom I believe to be the best, as well as my sponsors, including Texaco, Alco Filters, C.C Racing, P.Neofytou, Brand Performance, Garrett, Turbosmart, Digital Signs, Satworks, Poumbourides Tires Services, VP Racing Fuels Cyprus, and S.Kotzias Insurance.”
In the Pro2 category, surprises continued to unfold as Dragomir Roglinov from Bulgaria outperformed Filip Radovanovic from Serbia, Tudor Ciortan from Romania, Tas Bence Kozma from Hungary, and ultimately defeated Robert Horensky from Slovakia in the final to claim first place. It’s worth mentioning that championship leader Francesco Giori crashed and could not secure a spot in the top 16. Gabor Kanalovics, who held the second position overall, also failed to make it to the top 16, resulting in victory for Dragomir Roglinov from Bulgaria, a well-known driver from the Balkans but new to the international race scene. Dragomir will participate in the entire championship in 2024. Second place went to Slovak driver Robert Horensky. At the same time, the final spot on the podium was taken by Austrian driver Lukas Dobias, who gained his second-place standing in the overall rankings due to this result.
The upcoming double final in Serres is expected to be closely contested, determining the final overall standings of the Pro2 category championship. Talking about his victory in the Pro2 category, Dragomir Roglinov shared, “The race atmosphere was fantastic, and the organization was at a high level. I faced numerous technical issues with my car, as I had a major accident during training before the battles. We had limited time to fix it, but my exceptional team got it back in shape. However, we encountered clutch issues during the battles due to the hot weather. Despite the challenges, the feeling of winning was simply incredible. I am grateful to all my respectful opponents. I want to thank my sponsors, who are like family to Kazakov Car Service and me.”
In the Queen category, three female participants qualified for the race. Sandra triumphed over Mirealla in the semifinals, setting up a final showdown with her teammate, Deimante. Young Deimante defeated her mentor Sandra to claim her first victory at Drift Kings. Sandra remains the frontrunner and a strong favourite for the title of 2023 Drift Queen, which is expected to be sealed in Serres in October.
Sharing her thoughts on the Queen category victory, Deimantė Radzevičiūtė said, “After my first pass, I instantly fell in love with the track. I enjoy drifting on technical tracks, and this particular layout demanded skills and technical ability. It was an excellent opportunity to learn and test my techniques while acquiring new knowledge. The challenge wasn’t easy, but that’s the best way to grow and learn new things, and I enjoyed it! Sandra and I have been good friends for a long time, connected through our shared passion for drifting. After years of training and racing, we now drive similar-looking cars for the same team. Standing on the podium and receiving a trophy for our hard work is gratifying. However, the most important aspect is the experience, and I can proudly say it was a tremendous experience for me, filled with emotions throughout the Drift Kings weekend. I truly admire the championship and the track. Unfortunately, budget constraints prevent me from participating in the entire league, but I hope to have the opportunity to attend or support the Drift Kings Championship in the future. Since my best friend, Sandra Janušauskaitė, will participate in the championship, I will cheer her on and closely follow the results; we are a team! I sincerely thank the Drift Happens team for their assistance and the mechanics who cared for my car and tires. Additionally, I want to thank my best friend, Sandra Janušauskaitė, for making this opportunity possible and allowing me to participate in the Drift Kings Championship! Furthermore, I thank all the organizers for delivering an exceptional race experience!”
The upcoming race is scheduled for October 6-8 at the Serres circuit, where the highly anticipated grand final of the Pro2 and Queen categories will take place. Will the favourites secure their crowning moments, or will the double points final race bring unexpected surprises? Can Giorgos Christoforou “Ela Koko” surpass the longstanding record set by Judge Adam Kerenyi with three consecutive wins since 2014? All these questions will be answered in the thrilling event in Serres this October!