Armstrong thrilled to get opening win

D1NZ national drifting championship Dunedin round winner Cole Armstrong (left) battles with ...
D1NZ national drifting championship Dunedin round winner Cole Armstrong (left) battles with fellow Tauranga driver Drew Donovan at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday night. Photo: Gregor Richardson.
Tauranga's Cole Armstrong made the most of the covered venue to win the opening round of the D1NZ national drifting championship at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday.

Armstrong, in his Nissan Skyline 250GT, fought off tough challenges over two days from  Australian guest driver Matty Hill, Drew Donovan, also from Tauranga, and former pro series champion Darren Kelly, of Auckland.Armstrong was thrilled with the win.

"I’m pretty stoked with how this event has turned out," he said.

"It’s awesome here to have the first southern hemisphere indoor drift event. To take it out I’m over the moon."

A top-32 was drawn after qualifying on Friday.  That was eventually  reduced to the final four consisting of Armstrong, Donovan,  Kelly and Nico Reid.

Kelly came up against Armstrong while Donovan lined up alongside Reid.

Reid made sure Donovan knew he wanted to be in the final, as he looked to rub shoulder-to-shoulder. He came too close, though, and straight-lined after making slight contact with Donovan.

With Donovan into the final, Armstrong and Kelly went head-to-head for the last spot. The pair hounded each other, but the judges deemed Armstrong to be the victor after a small mistake from Kelly.

It was  close in the final but the judges ruled Donovan ran a shallow line in his pursuit, to hand Armstrong victory.

Armstrong said it was a close-run event.

"I knew Drew was definitely on me. It’s one of those things where you can look in your mirror and be like ‘he’s on me!’

"But you’ve just got to put that behind you, do the line, and hey, I was lucky enough to come out on top. I definitely thought it was a one-more-time, it was so close. I’m pretty stoked with how everything’s turned out."

About 7000 attended the event over two days, which pleased organisers.

The  event  is the only one in the New Zealand championship to be held in the South Island.

The other six rounds are all in the North Island, starting at Manfeild early next month.

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