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Formula Drift Pro 2 Driver George Kiriakopoulos Looks to Rebound After Rough Start

George Kiriakopoulos qualified 11th at Formula Drift Orlando, but would have to retire early

George Kiriakopoulos qualified 11th at Formula Drift Orlando, but would have to retire early

After a rough start to his Formula Drift Pro 2 rookie season, George Kiriakopoulos is looking forward to showcasing his driving prowess in the second half of the season after several tough breaks left him with room to improve from the first half of the season. Kiriakopoulos will be debuting a new livery in time for the third round of the Pro 2 season in Seattle, and hopes to see better results at both Seattle and Texas to close out his Pro 2 season.

Kiriakopoulos started the season out in Orlando with no major expectations as a rookie, experiencing his first Pro 2 event alongside more than 20 other drivers. After the Thursday practice and qualifying session had ended, Kiriakopoulos had put his Universal Machine 370Z in 11th qualifying position, which guaranteed him a spot in the tandem battles. Unfortunately, during the practice session just prior to the Top 16 tandem battles, Kiriakopoulos broke the dogbox transmission in the car. Without a replacement available in time for the tandem battles, Kiriakopoulos would have to sacrifice his battle against fellow AEM Induction-sponsored driver Travis Reeder.

George Kiriakopoulos dealt with a broken steering rack at Formula D Atlanta, which cut down practice

George Kiriakopoulos dealt with a broken steering rack at Formula D Atlanta, which cut down practice

Heading into the second round in Atlanta just two weeks later, Kiriakopoulos and his Modified Performance team had repaired the transmission and were ready for the dynamic Road Atlanta course. Kiriakopoulos knew that the Atlanta round would be tricky, partially due to having never run the track before while several drivers on the Pro 2 roster had competed at the track in previous seasons.

In his first practice run out of the gate, Kiriakopoulos came into the first turn a bit too hot and pushed the front end of the car off course, which damaged the steering rack. The team worked hard to make the rack straight enough to run for the weekend, but the lost practice time made it difficult to qualify. Although Kiriakopoulos put two solid qualifying runs down that were scored, ultimately those scores wouldn’t push him into the top 16. By comparison, only 10 of the 30 other drivers were able to put down two full passes in qualifying, showing just how tricky the course can be.

George Kiriakopoulos unfortunately didn't make the cut for Top 16 at Road Atlanta

George Kiriakopoulos unfortunately didn't make the cut for Top 16 at Road Atlanta

During the three month layoff between rounds, Kiriakopoulos has been busy prepping for the second half of the season out of his Las Vegas-based shop, Modified Performance. Kiriakopoulos has continued to drive the car at local Vegas Drift events, continuing to get seat time in the car and dial in the grip in tandem battles.

For Seattle, Kiriakopoulos will be debuting a new wrap design, which features AEM Intakes more prominently along with some other new partnerships. Kiriakopoulos has also removed some additional weight from the car, which should make the car quicker and more predictable in grip. Kiriakopoulos feels that he has the car and the skill to be competitive in Pro 2, and is anxious to showcase that at the upcoming Evergreen Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway events.

George Kiriakopoulos knows he has the car and team to be successful in the second half of the season

George Kiriakopoulos knows he has the car and team to be successful in the second half of the season


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