This is the third time Motul and Gregory “Gocha” Chivchyan have organised the infamous Zimkhana drift. An event where drifters take on a challenging course covered in snow and ice right in Gocha’s back yard. In other words, a perfect Sunday filled with sideways fun and frolics.
a perfect Sunday filled with sideways fun and frolics
In other words, a perfect Sunday filled with sideways fun and frolics. Apart from being a very talented drifter and FIA Intercontinental Drift Champion, Gregory Chivchyan is also a successful business owner. When he’s not racing, he runs a small chain of workshops and auto part shops called Forvardavto from his Krasnoyarsk HQ in Siberia.
But this is no ordinary workshop. Because out the back is a drift course. And it’s not just any ordinary course. This one’s modelled on the legendary northern loop of the Japanese Ebisu racetrack. This being Siberia, in winter the track is frozen and covered in ice and snow. The perfect conditions then for a spot of Zimkhana.
Ebisu. Siberian style
The layout might be simple but it’s nonetheless challenging. After a little dip, which makes the summer cars jump (these winter-spec Ladas stay planted) it’s fast into a very long left-hander where a hard and unforgiving wall is the clipping point. The locals say the key to a good set up is to get as close to the wall as possible. But the smallest mistake and you’ll know about it. The left-hand turn then rises up and leads to a new part of the track with a 180° turn taking you back down again. The approach, of course, is to get to the wall as close as you dare, and finish by crossing the line sideways. Easy, isn’t it?
The competition itself isn’t very different from a regular drifting event. Drivers have the entire morning session to practice and familiarise themselves with the car, the track and the conditions.
Then, in the afternoon, each driver performs a solo qualification run, with the evening reserved for the top 24 qualifiers to take part in drift battles. This is where two participants share the track and go door-to-door across the challenging loop. Unlike the winter drift battle that takes place on Saturday, these cars don’t wear spiked tyres, just normal Toyo winter rubber.
It’s no secret that Krasnoyarsk can call itself the capital of Russian drifting. It’s a city where rare Japanese cars are a regular sight and the passion for drifting is enormous. The local Zimkhana drifters are heroes around here.
Not all the participants were local though, with international talent like Masato Kawabata from Japan and Charles NG from Hong Kong making an appearance. Compared to their normal machines, the Ladas might feel a little sedate, but they love them and think they’re a lot of fun to drive.
In the end it was three-time Winter Drift champ Jevgeniy Losev who took the laurels and proved to be the king of Zimkhana, racking up a double win after scoring top points in Saturday’s winter drift battle at the Red Ring.