Regarded as one of Europe’s top professional drift events Monster Energy King of Europe Pro Series is an 8 round championship which takes place at locations across the continent on some of Europe’s most well-known circuits and as well as boasting a grid filled with highly successful drifters this is one event year after year we just can’t resist the opportunity to take part in; especially when it came to UK soil last weekend.
Having come away with 2nd place overall in the 2014 event; Japspeed driver Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith couldn’t wait to get out there and smoke his way to the top in the cloud of Maxxis Tyre smoke he is known for.
With the heat of the summer sun shining down on Lydden Hill, Saturday’s event saw open practice and an entirely new line compared to the British Drift Championship event earlier in the year. Perhaps it was this change in line and his drive to reach the top which saw Paul Smith push his trusty 1.5JZ-powered S15 so hard as to take a slight trip to the gravel in pursuit of his limits. With the limit firmly found and practice otherwise going well, the stage was set for qualifying.
True to his form qualifying followed much in the same way as practice. A series of powerful runs saw Paul qualify in a strong position ready for the main event and top 32 battles in the morning. With the sun setting and a relaxed yet optimistic atmosphere in the Japspeed camp the main event was set to be an exhilarating day.
As luck would have it and unusually for the UK the Great British weather held out with another day of sunshine….perfect conditions for plenty of Maxxis Tyre smoke! With little need for adjustments from practice and qualifying the day before it was time to give the car a quick once over ahead of the top 32 battles.
Top 32 battles saw Paul Smith drawn up against fellow BDC competitor Kirsty Widdrington in her PS13 Syril. Incredible runs from both drivers made for a tough decision from the judges however by the smallest of margins and plenty of Maxxis Tyre smoke Paul Smith would come out on top and advance to the top 16!
In an ironic twist of fate and despite the large number of international drivers taking part in the event for his top 16 battle Paul was pitted against BDC driver Michael Marshall with his highly regarded and distinctive BMW E92 M3.
Faced with fierce competition from the Team MnM driver, Paul knew he had to give everything he could muster. With both drivers giving it their all, a slight misjudgement from Paul saw him push a little too hard, clipping the rear of his S15 against the wall as he did so. Despite only minor damage to the car, this was enough to put an end to Paul’s weekend.
King of Europe is always an amazing event and a great opportunity to meet our friends from overseas as well as add a little mix to the drift scene here in the UK. With that in mind we’d like to congratulate Adam Kerenyi, Mike Marshall and Adam Frank on taking podium at this event.
We can’t wait to return next year and see if Paul can beat his 2nd place record.
The action doesn’t stop throughout August as we head back to the Emerald Isle on 15th-16th August for the penultimate round of the Irish Drift Championship at The Corrin Event Centre, Fermoy, Co. Cork. Check out www.irishdriftchampionship.com for all the details.