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· The Dude
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Forsberg tops field, minus a little paint

By Robert Morales, Staff Writer
Posted: 04/10/2009 11:57:14 PM PDT

LONG BEACH - Chris Forsberg scored 88.5 out of a possible 100 points on the first of his two solo qualifying runs Friday at the Formula Drift Pro Championship series opener.

But his second time around the track was absolutely incredible. As smoke from his screeching tires filled the air, Forsberg went sideways into one clipping point and left a little bit of orange paint from his car on a concrete barrier. He went sweetly into the next clipping point, getting beautifully close.

By the time he was done, he had scored a 93.1, the top score of the day.

Forty-seven cars vied for a spot in today's championship field of 32, with tandem runs beginning at 11:30 a.m. Gates open at 10.

"We're sitting first after the first run and I just never want to back off and I want to put on a good show for the crowd and always try to better myself," said Huntington Beach's Forsberg, who won this event last year.

"So I just went out and just (gave it) a little more throttle coming out of Turn 9, trying to get my speed up for the next run and then just blowing me out wider, and we just got up on those walls. But it made it through."

Asked if he realized he left some paint on the wall, Forsberg said, "Oh, yeah, I got a little bit of concrete on the bumper."

Darren McNamara of Ireland qualified second with a top run of 88.2 points; two-time defending series champion Tanner Foust was third at 87.4; Japan's Kazu Hayashida was fourth

with 87.2 and Justin Pawlak of Long Beach qualified fifth with a best run of 86.2 points.
Samuel "The Crazy Swede" Hubinette, who finished second in the series in 2008, qualified 12th (77.4). Rhys "Mad Skills" Millen, the reigning world champion, was 17th (72.3).

For Foust, qualifying third was rather remarkable considering he is in a new car with only three days underneath it.

"Well, I'm ecstatic. The guys at Papadakis Racing have been busting their butts for like over three months now," Foust said of the company that built his Scion TC. "And my job just started three days ago, getting this car set up.

"And Tuesday when we came out for the media day, it was a scary ride. And just a few days later, now I'm already starting to get kind of comfortable."

Foust was quick to point out, however, that today he and his new car will have to make it all work in tandem runs.

Like Foust, Millen is in a new ride. His performance Friday was not what drifting fans are used to seeing.

"The car is amazing," Millen said. "We had the fastest entry speed today and the grip is incredible. Probably the driver just drove it a little too tentatively.

"I would lift off power to try to let the thing drag to the clipping points and it would not drag out there.

"We didn't choose a qualifying setup, we chose a tandem setup. Just be prepared to watch this thing tomorrow."

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