GRiD 2018 Smashes Record As Saito and Kristoffersson Win In South Africa.
As the sun set over Johannesburg, the race intensity redlined, and the tyre smoke flew thicker and higher than ever before. Nothing can prepare you for the pure assault on the senses that is Gymkhana GRiD in flat out competition mode. What’s more, nowhere else in motorsport can you check out 1000+ bhp race machinery going head to head with private garage builds; and then see the resulting duels clock in split-second tie-break finishes.
Gymkhana GRiD cuts through paddock politics like no other series, and lets the talent on track do the real talking. Of course when the smoke and dust eventually settled, two sets of podium finishers emerged, having burnt rubber, kicked their rivals to the kerb, and claimed their place in the Gymkhana GRiD hall of fame.
Japanese drift legend Daigo Saito truly gave a new meaning to bossing-the-GRiD in his thundering 1000bhp Corvette. Hustling the V8 powered Monster around the dazzling array of obstacles, the 38 year old racer consistently improved on his lap times with each outing, defeating local driver Rano Barnardt, and then Monster athletes Dmitriy Illyuk, Steve Baggsy Biagioni, and finally Jason Webb on route to podium glory.
1 – Daigo Saito
2 – Jason Webb
3 – Luke Woodham
1 – Johan Kristoffersson
2 – Petter Solberg
3 – Oliver Solberg
Head Hoonigan in Charge, Ken Block, brought the noise in his 1400bhp For Mustang Hoonicorn RTR V2 and put on an epic show against Daigo Saito in the Smoke and Style competition final, said:
“I’ve loved driving again here in South Africa. During my last run in Smoke and Style I had flames and bits of tyre bouncing off my visor, and I just kept the throttle nailed. That’s what Gymkhana GRiD is all about. Daigo did an awesome job sliding his Corvette around the GRiD course all weekend; his driving was super clean and he really got the thing dialled; he thoroughly deserves the win. I’m stoked for Jason Webb too – that was a big shakeup to the expected result with him knocking out Luke Woodham during the semis. Again that’s what’s so great about this format; It’s about car control, you don’t need the most horsepower to win at GRiD, one mistake and the result can go either way.
“In the All-Wheel Drive category we had an epic father-son head to head; Oliver and Petter Solberg! Oliver is a great kid, and super talented – I really enjoyed working with him in Gymkhana 10 and the Gymkhana files, he’s super talented and for sure got a great future ahead of him. Overall the quality of driving has taken a step up; from all the locals that made the effort to come and race, to having multiple World Champions, it’s just raised the bar. I want to say a big thank-you to all of the drivers and the fans for embracing this sport, Monster Energy for working so hard to help put on this great show, and everyone locally in South Africa – including all the local businesses like the venue here at Carnival City for making us so welcome. I’ll for sure have to come back in the future!”
The final piece of big news to share is that for 2019 Gymkhana GRiD will be making a tyre-slaying tour de force back to Europe. Having torn up the tarmac in South Africa for two consecutive years, GRiD will be giving the European audiences a taste of the action as it returns to its European roots next season. Full results times for the entire clutch-clutch-kicking weekend at Carnival City are available here.
“I wanted to come to Gymkhana GRiD to prove my speed, and also the speed of my Corvette, and I think I managed this! My team and I were a little nervous as we had some technical concerns over the course of the competition – I had a differential issue first and then also problems with the handbrake. We had some great help from Jason Webb’s father – so a big thank-you to him, because without his local knowledge we probably wouldn’t have been able to continue. It was a lot of fun to hang out with so many of the Monster athletes at the same time too. I hadn’t seen Baggsy since we worked on BattleDrift 2, so it was fun watching him drive in competition! He was actually quicker than me right up the ball section when we went head to head in the semis; which had me panicked for a little bit, as I really wanted to beat him! Overall I’m really happy to have won Gymkhana GRiD on my first try – It’s a very fun event, and I’ve very much enjoyed all the driving! The Smoke and Style sections of the competition were a lot of fun, as that allowed me to link more drift sections which is my natural style. However to get the quick times I had to be very accurate and neat with my driving style, which is not so easy with all the power from my Corvette!”
“It’s actually unbelievable what has gone down today. Progressing through the battles I was looking at the names that I was racing against and it’s just awesome. Racing against Luke was super fun; it was a shame for him getting the penalty but I kept it super clean and will take the win for sure in that battle. It was a dream come true to drive with Ken and Daigo in the Smoke and Style show – it’s just been a really really good week! With international drivers and media coming here to South Africa, not to mention the livestream and television broadcasts it’s definitely helping our motorsport scene. We have so many talented drivers here in South Africa and the key is getting those guys to race overseas and then also having the international talent to come and race here like we have this weekend. A massive thank-you to everyone involved in GRiD, it’s just been fantastic!”
It’s been unbelievable, another year another Gymkhana GRiD – everyone really knocked it out of the park. I knocked myself out though, and that’s how it goes, isn’t it? Congratulations to Daigo – he’s such a great driver! Congratulations to Jason [Webb] too he drove really well. I always figured Daigo would be fast, but when he posted the quick times he did in qualifying I was a bit surprised – he did a really fantastic job. I drove the absolute hardest I could this weekend and I’ve had the best time. Gymkhana GRiD has been amazing. Four titles was a good streak for sure, but trust me; next year, I’ll be back faster and stronger than ever before. I’ve had a podium for every Gymkhana GRiD since day one, so I’m really proud still. Congratulations to all of the drivers and the team organising the event; the paddock and track have been amazing – and it’s a privilege to be sat here again amongst such strong competition! I cant wait for next year now!”
“I’m really stoked to be here to be honest – and I don’t use that word very often at all! I’m just super happy to be here; both Cape Town for World RX and now Johannesburg for Gymkhana GRiD has treated us really well. Two years in a row now I’ve been able to get the win – I’m so happy. During the last run against Petter I was actually pretty dry in my mouth because I figured Petter was going to put on a hell of a run and quick time. Big thanks to the team – they have really done such a great job. It’s pretty emotional actually – because this is the last competition this year with my car – Wilma I call it – and I really think she’s the best car in the world. Two rallycross world championships and now two Gymkhana GRiDs; what more can you ask for?”
“It’s been so great here in South Africa again – the whole atmosphere, the way it was organised, the passion from all of the drivers is fantastic. Getting Oliver on the podium also is unbelievable for me. I think it was a really big test from his as a driver; to push through problems, and keep resetting yourself for each run to keep on the pressure. I think if he’d have hit the clipping point ball obstacle he could have maybe taken me! It was so close. From the data we can see that from the start line to the first corner there was around a five-tenths gap. That’s just acceleration from my car to his, so his driving has been very very impressive to get the times he did! He’s done a fantastic job motivating his team – I’m just so proud of him! It’s been hard work in the car but really really good fun also!”
“It was a great weekend, but it was tough! I’m super happy to make it on to the podium. Even though I had a quick car, it didn’t work 100% for one single run. I was shocked how fast Bucky was during our battle and I was worried that my car was going to break before the third place final! I really just had to concentrate to keep pushing at every single stage. Luckily we managed to make it through and I just had a lot of fun! Big thanks to Monster, and all the fans – it was a great event for sure!”