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Jack Shanahan Triumphs in a Wet and Wild Round 4 in Riga

by Cian Leonard 30th July 2023

Against all odds, the rest of the DMEC driver grid and some very treacherous weather conditions, Irish driver Jack Shanahan has emerged victorious here at the Bikernieku Trase in Riga, Latvia, in what was an exhilarating Round 4 of the Drift Masters European Championship (DMEC) held over the last two days.

Unpredictability was the order of today’s battle action, with inclement weather wreaking havoc on the drivers. Persistent rain during the Top 32 portion of the competition made for slippery conditions, and an inconsistent and patchy track for Top 16 added to the suspense, making conditions near impossible for drivers. 

Despite these challenges, it would be Irish driver Shanahan who weathered the storm, defeating local Latvian young-gun Nikolas “Nik Nak” Bertans in a thrilling final showdown that had spectators on the edge of their seats. Both drivers would push themselves and their machines to the absolute limits, but after taking down Felix Lindvall, Marco Zakouril, his own brother Conor Shanahan and Finnish driver, Juha Rintanen en route to the final, it would be a hard-fought yet deserved victory for the older Shanahan brother. 

It would be the Finnish driver Rintanen who would take the third and final step on the podium after a bye-run in today’s play-off battle, with Duane McKeever finishing in fourth place after being unable to make it to the line after suffering a gearbox failure at the hands of Rintanen’s fellow finn, Lauri Heinonen in the Top 8 stage – A battle which McKeever would win, but would suffer damage he not be able to recover from.

However, that wasn’t all the drama we would see here this weekend. Putting a massive dent in his hopes of retaining the championship title crown, after qualifying in first position yesterday, reigning Drift Masters champion Piotr Wiecek was knocked out in the Top 32 stage by local driver Bertans in a stunning upset, which will make it incredibly difficult for him to fight his way back at this point. 

Former Drift Masters champion Adam Zalewski met a similar fate against Irish driver Duane McKeever, falling at the same stage as his fellow countryman Wiecek, whilst Finnish driver Lauri Heinonen, who came into this weekend in second place overall in the standings would also suffer a slight dent in his championship hopes, after falling to Duane McKeever.

So although we now have 4 of 6 events all said and done, the 2023 Drift Masters European Championship season is far from over. Up next, the Championship now moves to Germany’s Ferropolis for Round 5 on August 17th-19th, before the action culminates with the biggest drift event the World has ever seen, the grand finale in Poland’s PGE Narodowy in Warsaw on September 15th & 16th.

Current Top 5 Championship Standings:

– Jack Shanahan (IRL) – 296 pts.
– Conor Shanahan (IRL) – 265 pts.
– Juha Rintanen (FIN) – 260 pts.
– Lauri Heinonen (FIN) – 251 pts.
– Duane McKeever (IRL) – 245 pts.

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