Brands Hatch, the iconic racetrack in Kent, once again served as the stage for high-octane drifting action during the GoJapan show and round 7 of the MSUK Drift Pro Championship. For Samco Sport-sponsored driver Ian Phillips, this event held great significance as he aimed to regain his standing in the championship after missing the previous round in Donnington due to his participation in the German Iron Drift King event. Ian, currently occupying the 5th place, faced a series of challenges and intense competition.
The day began with a mixed practice session, where drivers had a limited number of laps to familiarise themselves with their cars and adapt to the track conditions. Ian’s car had undergone significant modifications, primarily focused on increasing grip. However, he encountered difficulties during initiation on each lap, a critical aspect as judges meticulously assessed this part of the circuit. In the hot pit, Ian made some basic suspension adjustments to address the issue. Unfortunately, just as he was about to return to the track, his car experienced a technical glitch, refusing to restart, necessitating a tow back to the pits.
Ian expressed his determination, saying, “We checked over the car, and there seemed to be an electrical issue with the fuel pump wiring. We topped up the fuel, refreshed some connections, and miraculously, the car roared back to life. Fixing that moving forward will be my homework before the next event.”
In the high-pressure qualifying session, where drivers had only two laps to showcase their skills, Ian understood the need to give it his all. He pushed his car to the limits, attempting to initiate into the first corner later while reaching speeds exceeding 105mph. Fortunately, he managed to avoid the inside curb on corner one and successfully completed both laps without major issues, securing the 8th position. Ian shared his thoughts, stating, “I knew I had to go for it! I did my best to initiate into the first corner later, but when traveling over 105mph before pulling the handbrake, your brain is screaming to start the drift. Luckily, each time it paid off.”
Top 16 Battles
Ian’s first battle in the Top 16 was against Paul Beech, who was driving a borrowed car but proved to be a formidable opponent. Ian led the first half of the battle, delivering his best lap of the day. During his chase run, Ian maintained a consistent gap behind Paul, who made some mistakes. Ian expressed his satisfaction, saying, “My spotters told me that Paul made some mistakes behind me, so I could be a bit more sensible on my chase.”
The Great 8 and Beyond
Facing Ollie Evans in the Great 8 was a familiar challenge for Ian, given Ollie’s exceptional speed. However, this time, Ian’s car, known as the LSZ, performed better than ever. As Ian chased Ollie, he managed to maintain an equal gap throughout the lap. Ian noted, “We were both very happy with the battle, being good friends away from the track, we were congratulating each other on our driving.”
The 3rd/4th Place Battle
In the battle for 3rd/4th place, Ian Phillips faced off against the formidable Josh King. Ian pushed his car to the limit, achieving his best lap on the Brands Hatch track during his lead run. Ian commented, “It was definitely my best lap of that track ever.” However, it was Josh King who secured the victory in this battle, resulting in a 3rd place finish for Josh and a 4th place finish for Ian.
Although Ian Phillips didn’t clinch the top spot, he had much to be proud of at Brands Hatch. His performance enabling him to compete at the highest level and earn praise from both judges and fellow competitors. Ian is looking forward to the future, stating, “Now it’s time for me to make some small repairs and work on my own driving abilities with my coach Yogi from PhDrift in time for Snetterton on October 22nd.”
Samco Sport continues to support Ian on his journey through the high-octane world of drifting, and eagerly anticipate the next chapter in this talented driver’s career.