Conor Shanahan claims first Drift Masters European Championship title

After the most entertaining season of the Drift Masters European Championship to date, it was a dream night for Irish driver Conor Shanahan in front of 53,000 fans at the PGE Narodowy stadium in Warsaw, Poland, where he not only took the win at the world’s biggest drifting event, but also the biggest prize in European drifting by becoming 2023 Drift Masters European Championship champion for the very first time

Lauri Heinonen, Conor Shanahan i Juha Rintanen, Drift Masters European Championship in Warsaw, fot. Joerg Mitter, Red Bull Content Pool

– Six title contenders entered the arena at the start of the weekend, with Conor Shanahan, Lauri Heinonen, Jack Shanahan, Juha Rintanen, Piotr Wiecek and Duane McKeever all in the fight for the season’s top honours, but it was the 20-year-old younger Shanahan brother who ended the weekend heading home the happiest, doubling up to take home the championship overall in the best possible way with victory on the track.

– Having taken fifth place in the final qualifying session of the season, Shanahan had to fight his way through a stacked grid of drivers to take victory, none of whom made it easy for him. Notably, he would have to take down Finnish driver Mika Keski-Korpi during Top 32, before going head-to-head with Polish wildcard driver David Sposób in the Top 16.

– Shanahan then went up against – and defeated – on-form Portuguese driver Diogo Correi to set up a Final 4 battle against Polish driver, Pawel Korpulinski – a battle which would be a decisive moment in the young Irishman’s title fight.

– Bringing his season to a fitting conclusion and settling his own nerves once and for all, Shanahan clinched the championship title when he took down the Polish fan-favourite – who would go on to take third place on the day – in a one more time battle at the Top 4 stage, setting up a dream final with his closest championship contender and second place finisher, Lauri Heinonen.

– Much to the delight of the record-breaking crowd, with the title fight already decided ,Shanahan and Heinonen threw caution to the wind and put on a final to rival all before it.

– Despite not taking home the win on the night, the Finnish driver still took second in the championship standings to round out his best-ever season in Drift Masters.

– Fellow Finn Juha Rintanen rounded the top three for the season, finishing ahead of 2022 champion Piotr Wiecek, while the older Shanahan brother, Jack, finished in fifth ahead of fellow Irish driver, Duane McKeever.

2023 Drift Masters European Championship final standings

  1. Conor Shanahan IRE 459 points
  2. Lauri Heinonen FIN 415
  3. Juha Rintanen FIN 359
  4. Piotr Wiecek POL 341
  5. Jack Shanahan IRE 328
Source: Red Bull Content Pool