Kiwi drifting gets back to its roots this weekend, with a D1NZ championship round at the Northgate Business Park in Ruakaka, south of Whangarei. Port Nikau, east of the city, was a popular stop on the D1NZ tour in 2009 and 2010 but the province\'s links with the sport go back even further than that. \"It all started,\" remembers the series\' chief judge, Whangarei man Justin Rood,\" when the internet came along. Before that myself, Jairus Wharerau, Hayden Skinner and James Lucas were into the drags but one day we found these short little clips - which back then took hours to download - of factory drift cars. \"They were different to the front-wheel-drive cars we were into at the time but it sparked our interest and we ended up getting a couple of Skylines and heading down to Pukekohe.\" Next thing Rood knew he and his friends are helping organise and compete in New Zealand\'s own drifting series with Wharerau winning the inaugural title in 2004 and Rood taking it out in 2005. These days the 34-year-old now balances a real job with judging duties on the D1NZ circuit, and remains a passionate advocate for drifting and Driftcorp, the Whangarei-based team he established with friends. Rood\'s role these days is largely behind the scenes his on-going influence on the local drift scene cannot be overstated. Since winning the series 2004 the D1NZ title has only left the North twice, once in 2005 when New Plymouth\'s Adam Richards won it, and in 2007 when it went to Pukekohe driver Carl Ruiterman. In 2006, however, it was back in the hands of a Whangarei driver, Daniel \'Fanga Dan\' Woolhouse, and for the past three years it has been won by fellow Driftcorp member Gary \'Gaz\' Whiter from sunny Dargaville. This season it is Auckland\'s Curt Whittaker in a 2JZ-powered Nissan Skyline R34 who is leading the series, followed by Tauranga\'s Cole Armstrong in another R34. High-profile Red Bull-sponsored RX7 driver \'Mad\' Mike Whiddett is in third, with Whiter in an uncharacteristic fourth. This weekend, with local money on Whiter, Woolhouse and Nelson, there is a concerted effort to raise money for Project Promise, a trust working to collect the $3million needed for a new oncology unit at Whangarei Hospital. The sideways action starts at the Business Park on Friday with practice and testing for both Pro-Am and D1NZ cars in the morning and Top 16 Pro-Am class battles in the afternoon. It gets serious on Saturday with D1NZ big guns qualifying from 11.30am and the Top 32 battles due to start around 1pm. This weekend is the penultimate round of the D1NZ, with the grand final event at Hampton Downs on April 6 and 7.