Fast & Furious: Nagoya Drift (Monster Energy Edition)

Manny N. de los Reyes (The Philippine Star) - August 13, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Okay, so it doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift, but the spectacle was just as amazing (perhaps even more so), and best of all, it was all real—not some CGI-intensive Hollywood production.

It was a monster weekend of screaming engines, smoking tires, and sublime high-speed driving as famed energy drink maker, Monster Energy, brought ace driver Ken Block and his incredible, turbocharged Ford Fiesta to Nagoya, Japan early last month to showcase his fabulous driving skill and to face off with a Japanese drifting champion—in their home turf (a specially designed course at a parking lot of the Chubu International Airport in Nagoya).

Making matters even more visually exciting was the presence of the Philippines’ hottest celebrity and Monster Energy brand ambassador, Ellen Adarna, who not only marveled at the breathtaking driving of the ace Japanese drift racers, but also rode shotgun with Ken Block himself as he gave her a first-hand experience in riding a 600-horsepower all-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta virtually sideways throughout the race course. 

FHM’s 8th Sexiest Woman in the World was a picture of composure as she got out of the passenger seat—all smiles but giddy with Monster adrenalin. She, like the thousands of Japanese fans in attendance at the Nagoya leg of the D1 Grand Prix, had a taste—literal and otherwise—of true Monster Energy excitement.  

The event started with ace Japanese drivers Masato Kawabata, Tatsuya Sakuma, and Akinori Utsumi turning the course into a stage, displaying exquisite three-car combinations that showcased the artistry of the world of drifting.

Next, 12 D1GP drivers took to the course for a “D1 ULTIMATE 12” exhibition, in which the 12 drivers battled one another in a knock-out format for the right to compete head-to-head against Ken Block. The final round featured a battle between Utsumi and Kawabata. The two vehicles—a V8-powered Toyota 86 and a Nissan GTR—snaked through the course mere inches apart in a harrowing tsuiso battle that left the fans on the edge of their seats.

The day was capped by a drifting showdown with Ken Block in his Fiesta facing off against Kawabata in his equally powerful Nissan GTR. The American ultimately triumphed, and even graciously offered an on-the-spot rematch, which his Japanese rival respectfully declined. Other Monster Energy highlights during the day-long event were motorcycle stunts which saw daredevil freestyle riders jumping their bikes off a ramp over a helicopter. Some even did extreme stunts like “Superman” and doing 360-degree flips that left the crowd gasping for breath.   

Truly one heck of a Monster (Energy) weekend!

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