Conor Shanahan excels at Drift Masters

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

11 July 2021

Irish driver finished second during round one in Austria.

One of the rising stars on the drifting circuit Conor Shanahan claimed his second-ever podium finish in round one of the 2021 Drift Masters European Championship, while Poland’s Piotr Więcek had a weekend to remember as he secured first place in both rounds at the PS Racing Centre in Greinbach, Austria. Here is all you need to know:

– Round one of the Drift Masters European Championship on Saturday saw 46 drivers enter, with only the top 32 progressing through to the main race. Among those to advance were Shanahan and Joe Hountondji (Germany), one half of the Red Bull Drift Brothers.

– Shanahan’s first opponent in the Top 32 was Denmark’s Mikkel Overgaard, who the young Irishman beat to set up a Top 16 contest against Sweden’s Felix Lindvall.

– As the competition ramped up to the finals, Shanahan – who only turned 18 one month ago – beat Finland’s Juha Rintanen in the Top 8, before securing his place in the final by beating highly-rated Polish opponent Adam Zalewski in the Top 4 round.

– Come the final it was Shanahan against Więcek, with the Irish-born driver looking to secure his second Drift Masters podium. However, it was his opponent who was awarded the win by a panel of three judges in an intense final that saw the Polish driver cement his status as one of the best drifters in the world.

– This was the first time Shanahan had graced the podium since 2018 when he beat former series champion James Dean to stand on the top step in Poland.

– Shanahan said: “I knew it would be a tough battle against Piotr, he’s one of the best drifters in the world. But no matter who I’m battling, I just pull up to the starting line, put my visor down and go. I never had the attitude to worry about who I battle; I just try and get the job done but we were a little short.”

– Also celebrating a podium finish was Shanahan’s elder brother Jack, who won the playoff round for third place.

– During round two on Sunday, both Jack and Conor Shanahan reached the Top 8 battles after producing some superb driving.

– Conor eventually succumbed to Zalewski in the race of the day, while Jack would suffer gearbox failure in his battle against Benediktas Cirba.

– Zalewski would go on to secure third place after overcoming Christopher Bohm in a play-off battle, while Cirba took on Więcek in the final.

– In the final race of a thrilling weekend, Cirba would suffer clutch problems and had to shut down his car halfway through his run, gifting the victory to Więcek.

– The 2021 Drift Masters European Championship next moves on to Riga, Latvia for Rounds 3 & 4 on July 31 and August 1.

DMEC Driver Standings
1. Piotr Więcek POL 212 points
2. Conor Shanahan IRL 141
3. Benediktas Cirba LTU 138
4. Adam Zalewski POL 137
5. Jack Shanahan IRL 124