Diogo Manuel Dias Correia was on fine form in Drifting Cup qualifying for Portugal to lead 16 nations into tomorrow's Top 16 deciding contest, while seven teams have been eliminated from the competition.
Driving a BMW M3 E92 decked out in his nation's flag – not to mention an unmissable set of fluorescent green rims – the Portuguese Drift Championship star delivered a breathtaking performance to rack up 89 points. Correia was awarded 32 for his line, 30 for angle and 27 for style.
The Portuguese ace set his score on the second run and needed edge out Benediktas Čirba of Team Lithuania, whose total of 86 had put him on top after the opening set of efforts. Though Čirba may be a touch disappointed to have finished second, he is nevertheless very safely through to tomorrow's Top 16 contest.
The following positions were filled by Juha Pöytälaakso (Finland), Ilia Fedorov (Russia) and Odd-Helge Helstad (Norway), all of whom delivered excellent showings in tonight's qualifying to advance to Saturday's showdown.
Local fans could breath easy as Italian ace Federico 'The Sheriff' Sceriffo eased into the Top-16 contest, placing seventh overall. Also through are the representatives of Ukraine, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Latvia, with the latter rounding out the top-10. Estonia, Austria, Hungary, Kuwait, Belarus and Georgia complete the line-up for Saturday.
The non-qualifiers all recorded zero in both of their runs on what proved to be an immensely challenging evening at Vallelunga. This group consists of Romania, Sweden, France, Denmark, Slovakia and Malta. The Top 16 contest will get underway tomorrow at 17.30, culminating in the gold medal being decided by a final battle.