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Race day shots from Gymkhana Grid 2019 in Warsaw , Poland
NEWS

WARSAW SHOWDOWN: CHAMPIONS CROWNED AT GYMKHANA GRiD 2019

Sep 092019

Palenie gumy w Polsce! You guessed it; Tyre Slaying in Poland! In the shadow if the vast PTAK Warsaw Expo Centre, Gymkhana GRiD went live and loud, crowning three champions for the 2019 season. One multiple FIA World Champion; and one amateur racer, who put in a giant-killing performance, on the largest and fastest GRiD course to date.

Petter Solberg, Mantas Sliogeris, and Jonathan Buck take a bow - you are Gymkhana GRiD 2019 Champions!

While few in the paddock doubted the speed of the Solberg duo - eagerly anticipating an epic father-son showdown for the final battles in the All-Wheel Drive class, it was the hotly contested Rear-Wheel drive category that delivered the biggest shock.

GRiD champion Luke Woodham knocked out in qualifying, Baggsy knocked out in the top eight, then Daigo Saito was beaten in semi finals. Even former FIA World Cross Country Cup Champion and Dakar driver Jakub Przygonski was toppled in the top 16.

The driver doing the damage? A Lithuanian GRiD rookie with a 200bhp Mazda MX5. Using a combination of quick thinking and precision driving, Mantas Sliogeris defied all odds to come out on top and beat the big names to the top step of the podium. Better still, the remaining medal positions were filled by two more GRiD newcomers - Pawel Korpulinski from Poland, in his incredible 700bhp BMW 1M Coupe, and Greece’s Christos Chantzaras at the wheel of his thundering V8.

 

When the dust settled from the ear-wheel drive class action, rally power cracked around the GRiD course, with Petter and Oliver going wheel to wheel in the final battle. With 600bhp a piece, and times only separated by a blink of an eye; it was a real family feud for the podium. This time however experience won out, and Senior reminded Junior just why he is a three time FIA World Champion.

 

The fight for third and fourth place was equally exciting. Finnish rally and rallycross star Riku Tahko used his Mini Cooper S R4 to full effect to fight his way through each of the qualifying rounds up to a bronze medal position. The 35 year old racer has competed in five Gymkhana GRiD competitions previously and has cruelly been thwarted by mechanical failure in each previous edition. Not this time in Poland however.

 

Special mention must go to the top privateer of the weekend, Jonathan Buck who battled his way through the pack to place fourth; and claim the Top Privateer medal for the second year in succession.

Dont just take our word for it though, hit play to check out all the action

Rear-Wheel Drive:

1 - Mantas Sliogeris - Lithuania - Mazda MX5

2 - Pawel Korpulinski - Poland - BMW 1M Coupe

3 - Christos Chantzaras - Greece - BMW E36 M3

Complete Battle Results

 

All-Wheel Drive:

1 - Petter Solberg - Norway - PSRX Volkswagen Polo GTi

2 - Oliver Solberg - Norway - PSRX Citroen DS3 RX

3 - Riku Tahko - Finland - Mini Cooper S R4

Complete Battle Results

 

Top-Privateer:

Jonathan Buck - UK - Subaru Impreza

“It feels like I’m in a dream! From the moment I saw that I had won it just feels so totally surreal. My only real plan was to qualify; and I did that with flying colours, so I was already very happy. But now here I am in first place. It’s absolutely unbelievable! My MX-5 is street legal, and I was actually planning on driving it back to the UK where I am living. I have a really nice problem to deal with also, as we will put the Harley Davidson on a trailer back to the UK, where the car would have been! It’s a nice problem to have. I’m absolutely so happy - I just can’t believe it! First place!”

“I’m super happy. To get second place for the first time being on a Gymkhana GRiD event, and the first time driving in a straight line with my drift car feels totally amazing. I enjoyed learning the course actually, and the crowds were amazing - the whole event was just ridiculous in a great way, so I’m really thankful that I could just be here and race, and take part in they crazy crazy competition. It’s time to celebrate now for sure! I hope there will be a lot more Polish drivers signing up to Gymkhana GRiD in the future!”

“It’s been an amazing event - I feel so good to come to Poland to race at Gymkhana and come away with a third place, and I just want to thank Monster Energy, my family, my team and my sponsors for making it possible to race. The track in particular was amazing - it’s so much bigger than the track we had when Gymkhana GRiD came to Athens in 2016. I had to adapt my car from the normal drift set-up. My team worked very hard to find the best setup and third place here is just a great payback!”

“It’s absolutely great to get this result. I knew it was going to be difficult because Oliver has been fast all day. He’s been consistently beating me on one side of the course. Unfortunately he had a battery problem in the final - has car was showing seven volts before the start (it should be 12) and I feel very sorry that he had that problem. But he is happy anyway and that’s what matters. I think Oliver wanted to beat me fair and square, because he gave me the same type of tyres he had been driving on all day - because we had been using different compounds. So that was a very fair sportsman-like behaviour from him; I’m very proud. It’s just great to be racing side-by-side; it doesn’t happen very often. It feels very bad to beat your own son in a race, but in other ways it’s great too. In Gymkhana, it’s you, your engine and your handbrake and you have to make the dance together. The focus is so much, you cannot make one mistake at all; every corner has to be perfect, every corner has to be right to the millimetre and then away. I like that. This event demands a lot from the driver. One thing is for sure, I’ll never miss a Gymkhana and for sure we will be racing again next year. I have retired from World Championships; but hillclimbs and shows - especially Gymkhana GRiD - are still a great thing I want to do. It’s a fantastic event, and a great show - thankyou to everyone that put in the work to make this a possibility and of course to the fans that came to watch.

“I’m very happy with the second place; it’s been a tough competition all weekend. I managed to keep up with my Dad all weekend, but just not in the final. He has driven so well - I didn't have a chance at all. We did have a problem with the power steering and battery voltage in the car; which was causing all kinds of electrical issues for the final. I had to just keep flat out everywhere to get as much as I could out of the car. I actually thought I hit the wall twice; and was panicking in the car. It was very close, but I’m very happy all the same! At least the Harley Davidson is coming home with us. This event is so cool! You know, everything I do right now is completely looking to my future in rallying – that sport is what I dreamed of for as long as I can remember. I’m fortunate to be doing some amazing rallies in amazing cars and I absolutely love it…”

“It feels amazing; and it feels like a win to me if I’m honest. We knew that the Solberg’s cars are in a different league to everyone else. I squeezed every single horsepower out of my car today, and focused on winning each battle at a time. When I got into the bronze medal knockout with Bucky it was tight. I saw that he made a mistake on the first run, so I had an advantage and if I played it safe on the second run things could go well. It just feels so good - I’ve been in Gymkhana GRiD for years now, and always something has gone wrong. But this year I picked the right car and brought the right tyres. It wants totally ideal as we were running gravel suspension, so the car was very soft, but my pace was good enough, so I’m very very happy!”

“It’s just incredible. My plan was to come and simply enjoy the event, and just enjoy getting to drive again at Gymkhana GRiD this year. But here I am standing on the podium; it’s absolutely unbelievable. I made a tiny tiny mistake in the final battle against Riku but it was enough to get a penalty and I’m kicking myself about that. I had a real shot at the podium this time. All the same it’s been an amazing experience to come and race in Poland, and it’s another awesome example of just why Gymkhana GRiD is one of the best racing disciplines out there!”

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