Drifting to a hometown victory

Drew Donovan leads Jodie Verhulst at round two of the series at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon. Photos: Simon Chapman.

No love will be lost between Team Drift Motorsport New Zealand duo Drew Donovan and Jodie Verhulst if the pair come up against each other during the third round of the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship at ASB Baypark Stadium.

Partners on and off the track, the pair are D1NZ’s power couple.

Verhulst believes their drift fueled relationship pushes one another to perform, but she hopes to take the spoils on the banked walls inside Baypark Stadium.

Jodie is a former D1NZ Pro-Sport Series podium getter at her home track in Tauranga. In 2013 she was battling outside the stadium in the car park, however, this year the D1NZ circus moves inside Baypark Stadium for the drifting action.

Verhulst says she’s looking forward to having the hometown advantage and seeing what the tight stadium style track has to bring.

“It’s always good having a home turf run, but Baypark this year sounds like it’s going to be off the charts and be pretty good.”

“We did pretty well down in Dunedin on that sort of close contact type of track. I’m expecting good things from Drew. I’m just going in with the mind-set of having fun.”

Drew Donovan celebrates after finishing second at the opening round in Dunedin.

The Milwaukee-backed drifters Verhulst and Donovan have remained elusive in their ambition for a finals battle between each other. Verhulst hopes the third round of the series will bring them the opportunity to go head-to-head.

“I’m hoping for it! We’ve honestly been dodging each other all season so it’s been really annoying. That first round out at Dunedin I was so close to getting a battle with him.

“We have some good battles. We don’t really hold back which is the other thing, so we’re not really afraid to bend each other’s cars. We probably end up fixing it anyway.

“I think every other time we’ve sort of been in line to knock each other out in the top-eight. But it’s good, we battle really well together so it’s not going to be a matter of one beating the other. It’s neat we can do that, but we’ll see. Maybe one of these days.”

Donovan echoed Verhulst’s sentiments and says he hopes they both end up in a position where they can face each other in the final showdown.

“I’m looking forward to it, I just hope it’s not until the finals,” he says.

“Ideally Jodie and I want to end up on the other side of the tree from each other so that there’s more of a chance of meeting in the final.

“So if we can do that and both work our way through to the final that’d just be the ultimate with a first and a second. That’d be a full career accomplishment.”

Jodie Verhulst in her 2JZ powered Toyota Supra at round one in Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium.



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