CHAPTER FIFTEEN: American vs JDM: rainy showdown!
Some clouds were approaching Mount Haruna. The organizer looked at them, hoping it wouldn't rain that night.
Nicholas got into his car. He started it up; the crossplane, pushrod V8 rumbled and clacked, unmuffled, on its way to the starting line, where the Kimura duo waited. He lined his car up and got out of it.
"I'm Evan, and the driver's Ram." - Said Evan, shaking Nicholas' hand. "Nicholas Justinian. Better get going, we don't have all the night." - As Nicholas said that, he walked back to his car and strapped himself to the seat. Ram and Evan did the same thing, and as both engines started up, the I6 fought a exhaust tone war against the pushrod V8. People cheered, delighted by the voice of these machines' hearts.
The organizer stood, once again, between the two cars. "Alright, we're going to start the countdown. Nine, eight, seven...!". Ram and Evan took a final look at Nicholas, who was, on the other hand, focused on the road completely. "Three, two, one...!". Nicholas started caressing the upshift paddle, while Ram pressed the clutch and engaged first gear.
Nicholas mashed the upshift paddle, and Ram let go of the clutch pedal swiftly but steadily. Both cars launched forward in an spectacle of wheelspin, burnt rubber and rev limiters going off. The Interval won the acceleration war fought during the first straight, thanks to a better low end performance.
As both cars left, some water drops started falling from the sky. People looked up; some thunders could be heard in the distance. A few seconds later, a light rain started falling all over Mount Haruna.
Both cars entered the two first corners; as they took them, they noticed their cars slipped more than usual, forcing them to drive slower and fight more oversteer. "Ram, it's raining! Alright, be really careful exiting the turns, the car is more prone to spin out." - Ram nodded. "Shit, is it raining?" - Thought Nicholas.
Both cars started approaching the first hairpin; Ram heel-toed carefully, hoping his rear wheels wouldn't spin. Nicholas pressed the downshit paddles carefully, avoiding revving the engine too much, to avoid spinning them. Both cars powerslid their way through the corner, but both drivers managed to navigate the corner without much problem.
The drivers found themselves forced to go easier on the throttle, as the rain intensified and some water streams formed at the sides of the road. The cars approached the second hairpin, which both slided through dangerously. The drivers started sweating: one wrong move and they could get themselves killed or seriously injured; at the same time, they had to worry about winning the race.
Both cars navigated the first high speed section being extremely cautious; the speeds they reached at it were more than frightening when they were reached in a rain-covered road. Both cars started braking to take the third hairpin; but Nicholas braked too much and too late, making his car slide towards the outside of the road. He panicked, correcting the understeer; and he managed to do so, but he looked at his right: he was being overtaken by the Kimura duo, who were powersliding their way through the corner, managing to keep the oversteer under control. As soon as he could, he accelerated again and followed the Helruna through the fourth hairpin.
"Great job, Ram. You took advantage of his mistake, but don't relax, we still have to keep the position." - Evan said, as Ram carefully applied gas to accelerate. "I have to keep up and overtake them somehow...this rain, though! Looks like the weather doesn't want me to win." - Nicholas thought, as he drafted behind the Kimura. As they entered the medium speed corners before the fifth hairpin, both drivers noticed someone, in a GT86, looking at them; they couldn't recognize the person, though.
The cars reached the fifth hairpin; both Ram and Nicholas powerslid the corner, neck to neck. Ram looked at his rear view mirror. "Looks like this guy is no amateur, Evan." "Focus on driving, forget about the Shromet." - Ram nodded, and both cars exited the hairpin, entering the last high speed section before the five consecutive hairpins. Nicholas kept drafting behind, closing any hint of a gap between them; and he was getting the hang of driving under the rain as well.
Ram started braking for the sixth hairpin, but his tail started moving all over the place; he corrected the oversteer, and started powersliding the corner, only to find Nicholas dropping his wheels in the inside gutter and overtaking them. "Evan, I...I...sorry, the tail kicked out." "Don't lose your focus, Ram. Keep driving; the five consecutive hairpins are where the races are decided. We'll overtake him there." Both drivers entered the corners leading up to the five hairpins.
Ram managed to keep up with Nicholas. Both drivers had to constantly fight oversteer, as the water reduced their grip. Nicholas entered the first hairpin, followed closely by Ram, blocking every overtaking attempt from him. The situation remained the same until the last hairpin. Nicholas braked too late again, sending him to the outside of the road; Ram didn't waste the opportunity and dropped his wheels in the gutter, overtaking the Shromet.
"Nice job, Ram. We got this, just make sure you don't make any more mistakes." - Ram nodded, and he started caressing the brake, entering the last hairpin, followed by Nicholas. Even if he had to fight the oversteer his rear-heavy car produced, he managed to keep up with the duo during the corner. Only one section remained; Nicholas got in the inside.
Both the roaring sound of the I6 and the rumble of the V8 were audible from the finishing line. They would arrive any second now. People held their breath.
Both cars appeared at the same time. "I'll show you the power of a good ol' American V8." - Thought Nicholas. Both cars floored it once the rear ends were stable again; a drag race had started, which the Shromet was slowly starting to win.
The Shromet crossed the line first, with the Helruna following him closely. Nicholas had won.
Both cars drove back to the summit, were the drivers shook hands once again. The organizer told everybody to come back the following day at the same hour, and announced that it was going to be the final day for round 2.
To be continued.