Vaughn Gittin Jr. Ford Mustang RTR

Vaughn Gittin Jr. started off his new venture as a team owner on the podium as he scored a second place finish at the Formula Drift season opener in Long Beach this past weekend. Gittin began the weekend with a strong sixth place qualifying, and backed that up by dominating the next four rounds to make it to the final against 2011 champion Daijiro Yoshihara. Unfortunately Gittin made a small mistake in the final turn of the course on his first run, handing the win to his former Falken Tire teammate. The second place finish is redemption for the past two years, in which Gittin failed to qualify and was knocked out of the Round of 32.

“I am so pumped!” said Vaughn after the competition. “For us to walk away with a second place finish – especially with the launch my new team and our brand new car – is amazing! It really shows the passion and hard work of everyone supporting the RTR Drift team and I am so grateful to have such a strong crew.”

Fellow Mustang driver Justin Pawlak didn’t have quite as good of a weekend. Having won the Long Beach event the last two years Pawlak was hoping to make it three in a row, but a hard crash in his first qualifying run left things in doubt. Fortunately the Falken Tire crew got the car back together in time for the second qualifying session and Pawlak laid down a beautiful run to make it into next day’s competition. Unfortunately his hopes for a third straight win didn’t last long, though, as he was knocked out in the Round of 16.

Both Mustang drivers will look to climb up the Formula Drift rankings at the next event at Road Atlanta from May 10-11.

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Photos © 2013 MustangsDaily.com

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