Drift battle initiate! Contact and controversy on track as our drifters light up the WTAC night.

The International Drifting Cup presented by Garrett Advancing Motion took centre stage as the sun set on the first day of Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge 2019.

Get your ticket for the International Drifting Cup now!

Shipping containers jammed with drift weaponry arrived throughout the week, building tension as the most diverse international field of drifters ever seen on an Australian grid was assembled.

A pack of 40 would enter, but only 16 will go through once all five rounds of pool battles are completed early tonight. Timing boards were traded for tyre smoke as drivers grouped up for huge opening battles, seeking proximity and parallel perfection in their lead and chase runs.

Drift King and head judge Keiichi Tsuchiya has set the bar high with a fast, technical line that appears to be catching drivers out.

Japanese D1GP Champion Masashi Yokoi punched every pony of his 1000hp 2JZ S15 into the circuit tarmac. A late third-battle mistake left the door open for the other drivers, but Yokoi stamped his mark on his opening rounds.

Swapping Supercars for slumming it sideways, Shane Van Gisbergen was glued to his opponents’ doors. Using every one of the additional 50 degrees of lock offered by the MCA 370Z, SVG’s pedigree was on show as he commanded the Z through the turns.

Matty Hill and reigning Australian Drift Champion Beau ‘The Show’ Yates were the standout Australians. Beau’s aggression and experience converted to convincing double-wins, putting him through to the provisional Top 16, with two of the five rounds still to run before the final names are decided.

Despite a touch up with Ben Jenkins in his opening battle, Matty Hill remained consistent and collected solid points to put him in with a good chance of making it through to tonight’s Top 16 battles.

A marquee opening pool match-up between Scotsman Andy Gray and Team Burst cult hero Naoki Nakamura ended with contact and debate. Nakamura took the win leaving purple and pink paint on the panels of Andy Gray’s big JZX. Andy is yet to complete his pool battles, and may still find himself in the Top 16.

With places still to play for in the Top 16, tonight’s International Drifting Cup should be a belter. Here are the standings after Friday, with some drivers vying to find their way onto the list in their final pool battles before the Top 16 is finalised. The best is still to come tonight. Get your tickets here.

1. Masashi Yokoi – DMAX S15 – Score 141
2. Ben Jenkins – Orange Fenix – Score 120.5
3. Danny Probert – Blue/Red XD Falcon – Score 117.5
4. Nathan Greenhill – SPC White S15 – Score 107
5. Naoki Nakamura – Pink Valino S15 – Score 107
6. Jake Jones – RBMW E93 M3 – Score 100.5
7. Matt Harvey – Kumho Powerplant – Score 100.5
8. Michael Bonney – Red/Black S15 – Score 100.5
9. Matt Vankirk – Red S13 180SX – Score 100
10. Warwick Hill – 3FingersNeat E46 – Score 93.5
11. Matty Hill – 4.Mance S15 – Score 87
12. Jesse Greenslade – Australian Girls Racing – Score 85
13. Adam Monck – Nulon S15 – Score 80
14. Anthony Bilic – Blue/Yellow S13 – Score 14
15. Beau Yates – Toyota Genuine Parts 86 – Score 78.5
16. Koji “Madface” Kitagawa – Multi Colour RX7 – Score 72