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King of Touge 2018 Round 1 - Karpacz, Poland
May 17, 2018
As the immensely challenging King of Touge series once again returned for the 2018 season, drivers visited from across Europe to fight for the top spots at the legendary Karpacz street circuit in the Polish mountains.
With the street closed at the popular tourist destination, it was time for drivers to put both their skills and cars to the test as they navigated not just the challenging steep uphill layout, but also the kerbs which lay waiting for the slightest of mistakes.
As the sun shone through the smoke in the mountain trees, surprisingly nice weather throughout the day gave the drivers one less thing to worry about as qualifications took place on Saturday afternoon.
It would be local driver Jakub Smuszkiewicz who threw down the most impressive lap of the qualification session, also clocking the highest speed of 111km/h on the speed gun and securing 90 points to grab the top position.
In second place, French driver Benjamin Boulbes got off to a great start to his 2018 King of Touge campaign with 87 points.
Third place went to Jacek Olejnik and his BMW E30, who are certainly no strangers to the epic mountain!
It was a disappointing start to the season for German driver Michael Schneider as car issues plagued the entire day, despite this he still managed to secure 8th place.
Day two would be the moment that the crowd had been waiting for, as the feat gets harder than ever when the drivers go head-to-head in the fight for victory.
Unfortunately for Schneider, his car issues continued as he was forced out in the Top 16 despite an initial 8-2 advantage.
In one of the closest battles of the weekend, two local drivers, Karol Piech and Jacek Olejnik went head to head. With an initial 6-4 advantage to Olejnik, he was desperate to maintain his lead in his chase run. Running the limits of the tight road, his rear wheel clipped the kerb forcing the car off-track and handing the third place on the podium to Karol Piech.
There was no doubt that the two drivers in the final had deservedly taken their places, it would be the top two qualifiers who now go head-to-head to fight for the win.
After some rare mistakes from Boulbes on his chase run, a 7-3 advantage was handed to Smuszkiewicz, much to the local crowds delight! With the large advantage, it looked like he had sealed the victory, however there’s always room for upsets in drifting and this was certainly no exception! As they both pushed as hard as they could through the first corner, Smuszkiewicz car gave up the fight, leaving Boulbes to complete his lap and seal his spot on the top position of the podium!
After a thrilling return to Poland, we now prepare for the next set of FOUR back-to-back races. First up in the Philippines we have the 4th Round of the Federal Tyres King of Nations series and the King of Asia Grand Final! With some of the best drivers attending from around the world, this is undoubtedly going to be an epic encounter!
Just one week later we continue the King of Touge series in the mountain roads of La Chapelle du Bard, France before the much-loved Anneau du Rhin circuit returns to the calendar. One week after that we head to Pau to conclude our three back-to-back French rounds!