In yet another topsy-turvy and dramatic affair, Irish driver Conor Shanahan has claimed top spot on the podium for the first time this season today at Round 3 of the Drift Masters European Championship (DMEC) which took place at Finland’s largest theme park, PowerPark, giving him maximum points and moves him into top spot in the overall championship standings heading into the second half of the season.
Continuing on from his first place finish in yesterday’s Qualifying session, Conor Shanahan’s impressive performance had the amazing Finnish fans on their feet all day long, as he overcame the rest of a very stacked grid, including his own brother Jack Shanahan in the final, to take the overall event win at the end of yet another extremely unpredictable weekend.
Although he didn’t come out on top, Conor’s brother Jack was still ecstatic both for his brother and in taking second place himself, with it of course being a victory for the Shanahan family regardless of who ended up on the top spot. The real winner though, of course, was the fans watching on in-person and online, who got to see one of the most entertaining battles we’ve ever witnessed in DMEC history.
Both Conor and Jack Shanahan would have to battle their way through an incredible field of talented drivers including Kalle Rovanpera, Juha Rintanen, Benediktas Cirba and Lauri Heinonen to name but a few, but their efforts wouldn’t go un-rewarded as they head home with 2 trophies and currently sitting in first and third place in the championship respectively.
Taking the final podium spot in his highest ever finish in Drift Masters, much to his own delight and that of all of his adoring Portuguese fans, was Diogo Correia.
Diogo would overcome German driver Max Heidrich, reigning DMEC champion Piotr Wiecek, on-form Kevin Piskolty and Polish young-gun Erik Goczal, who wouldn’t be able to return after a crash in the Top 4, gifting a bye run to Correia which saw him claim that third place finish overall to propel himself into twelfth position in the standings.
Much like Round 2 in Sweden, this event was once again not without its share of drama, with plenty of thrills and spills all weekend long. Firstly, Japanese driver and Sweden’s third-place finisher Naoki Nakamura would fail to qualify yesterday, seeing his championship hopes take a hit. Finnish driver Kalle Rovanpera would also once again exit at the Top 32 stage, this time at the hands of eventual winner Conor Shanahan.
Irish driver and the driver who came into the weekend in top spot, Duane McKeever, would fall to Polish driver Pawel Korpulinski in the Top 32 stage after creeping into Qualifying on the very last run.
And last but not least, Polishman and reigning champion Piotr Wiecek would suffer mechanical issues at the Top 16 stage this time around putting an unfortunate end to his weekend and putting a further dent in his hopes of bringing the championship back to Poland on home soil for the third year running.
So with Round 3, and perhaps the most entertaining Drift Masters events in history, now all said and done, DMEC now prepares to kick off the second half of the season in fan-favourite Riga, Latvia on July 29th & 30th. But also don’t forget, the championship comes to an end at Poland’s incredible PGE Narodowy in Warsaw on September 15th & 16th, promising an unforgettable finale to this exhilarating six-round championship.
Current Top 5 Championship Standings:
1. Conor Shanahan (IRL) – 210 pts.
2. Lauri Heinonen (FIN) – 198 pts.
3. Jack Shanahan (IRL) – 194 pts.
4. Juha Rintanen (FIN) – 184 pts.
5. Duane McKeever (IRL) – 181 pts.