Overcoming fire and rain, Deane takes opening round drift victory

Dramatic interior footage of the engine fire of the Ford Mustang RTR last week. (Picture: Kevin Darwish)

Three-time Formula Drift champion James Deane, hailing from Castletownroche, is riding high after winning the opening round of the 2024 Formula Drift season in Long Beach, California last Saturday.

It was not all plain sailing to the finish however, as a ‘catastrophic fire’ engulfed the Ford Mustang RTR’s engine just a few days beforehand. At the time, Mr Deane was giving a ride to a Canadian man, Kevin Darwish, who promised in his blog to take fans ‘along for a ride’ at the Formula Drift Long Beach media day, held on Tuesday last week.

Video footage captured by Mr Darwish showed how smoke and flames appeared from under the bonnet, and within seconds thankfully both men were out of the car. The Mustang was a seemingly charred mess afterwards and speaking on his blog, Mr Darwish observed how he thought, ‘Oh, the first time I’m in a car without a race suit, the car goes on fire’, and he knew he had to get out. He was left with what felt like ‘really, really bad sunburn’, but luckily, neither men suffered any further injuries. 

“If there’s only one thing you learn, wear the proper gear!”.

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