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Pontiac GTO Driver Rhys Millen Wins 2005 Formula D Drifting Season Championship
Fight For The Title Comes Down To The Wire At The Formula D Finale
IRWINDALE, Calif. - Rhys Millen clinched the 2005 Formula D Drifting Championship title in his Pontiac GTO at the Irwindale Speedway this past Saturday. Capping an exciting season of tire-smoking, sideways and spectacular Drifting, Millen and his GTO charged consistently through all six Formula D events during the 2005 season, maintaining his point leadership throughout the entire year. The Rhys Millen Racing (RMR) team beat out skilled entries from factory and private teams alike, setting the bar for a highly competitive season that drew even more fans onto the growing American Drifting scene.
After qualifying in first place at the high-speed, banked Irwindale track, Millen went into the weekend battling Samuel Hubinette's Dodge Viper, and the Ford Mustang driven by Ken Gushi, for the championship title. Known as the home of American Drifting, Irwindale provides fans with aggressive and exciting action. It's also a venue Millen knows well. He drove the GTO in battle after battle, smoking the Yokohama tires all the way to the final, where a power steering failure pitched the GTO into a very uncharacteristic spin. The event win went to Chris Forsberg in a Nissan, but Millen's second-place finish sealed the 2005 Formula D Series Championship.
"It was an amazing year for us," said Millen, driver and team principal of RMR. "We steered our Pontiac GTO towards the championship title since our win at the Formula D season opener, and we haven't looked back since. This is an incredible victory for me and the team, and I thank all our sponsor partners and our fans for the opportunity their support gave to me this year."
The 2005 season proved to be extremely challenging, with all teams stepping up and improving their driving skills and perfecting their car setups. RMR's win at the season opener in New Jersey set the stage and was backed up with podium finishes at Atlanta, Houston and Irwindale; RMR also scored points at Sonoma and Chicago. The team now sets its sights towards the 2006 Formula D season, which will no doubt bring even more competition and excitement to a sport that's quickly gaining young, American race fans.
"Pontiac congratulates Rhys Millen and RMR for their unrelenting fight and the well-deserved championship title," said Todd Christensen, GM Racing. "Pontiac was the first American brand to enter Formula D competition and we're extremely proud to have the GTO quick reach the leadership position in 2005."
First developed in Japan and popularized by video games in the United States, Drifting commands a strong fan base within the 16-24 year old youth audience. Drifting combines extreme driving skill with flair and artistry as drivers negotiate a complicated course at high speeds while in a controlled slide. Combining both solo qualifying runs with head-to-head competition, each event is judged on execution and style rather than speed, similar to skateboarding and freestyle motocross.