The smoke has cleared and all that remains is the rubber burnt into the tarmac. The #AutoCIRCUS powered by AutoTrader Festival featuring Gymkhana GRiD was one for the books, showcasing a breed of supercars, drift cars, factory prepared World Rallycross machinery and enthusiast tuned street beasts, all sharing the paddock and a track in anger.
Close to 50 drivers rolled into Carnival City, Johannesburg eager to prove their worth in one of motorsport’s most unique events. Fans witnessed racing, tyre-smoke, flames and precision driving on an unprecedented scale.
Gymkhana GRiD All-Wheel Drive Class
In the AWD class it was an extremely close battle between the Volkswagen’s of Johan Kristoffersson and Petter Solberg and the Ford’s of Andreas Bakkerud and Ken Block.
Block met an on form Solberg in the semi finals but could not match the pace of VW and was denied transfer to the final.
The semi final of Bakkerud vs Kristoffersson was one of the closest battles of the weekend and when it came down to time it was Bakkerud that was slightly faster, but a 2 second penalty for clipping an obstacle saw Kristoffersson transfer to the final.The battle for 3rd place had the Hoonigan teammates face each other for the final time. Bakkerud proved to be faster than Block and claimed the podium position.
Solberg vs Kristoffersson in the final, and what a final it was. Throughout the weekend Kristoffersson’s times went faster and faster and it paid off when he beat the legend, Solberg for the overall.
Gymkhana GRiD Rear-Wheel Drive Class
In the RWD class Luke Woodham shrugged off technical problems to become the series most successful rear-wheel drive pilot, with four consecutive wins to his name. Woodham was pushed all the way to the line by fellow racers traveling all the way from the UK.
Adam Elder was fastest all weekend long but when it came down to the final, pressure and mistake would cost him the win.
South Africa’s very own Otto Graven was impressive all weekend long and made it through to the semi finals. Graven was unfortunately disqualified from competition when a technical issue saw him break the start beam but not continue his run, handing 3rd place to Danny Cross.
If you missed the action, catch the exclusive replay of the livestream here.
Luke Woodham – 1st place RWD
“This weekend has been the toughest Gymkhana GRiD to date. It’s been a real team effort to get this one – everyone has worked so hard and I’m really grateful. If you had said to me yesterday that I was going to be on the podium, then I wouldn’t have believed you. I had nothing left after a long day of qualifying. I’ve always been one to quite enjoy mind games with the other drivers, but this time I was just pushing and going absolutely flat out. I don’t know where the speed came from to be honest – I just dug deep. We had car trouble before the final, where the alternator packed up. The car was misfiring. After the earlier runs we had to switch out batteries and charge them between runs. Thank you to Baggsy and Terry Grant for their help – because I was really panicking! I just knew I had to go flat out. Props to Adam he’s been unbelievable all weekend and a great competitor. I never thought I’d be able to do this four times in a row.”
Johan Kristoffersson – 1st place AWD
“I really don’t know what to say, I’m a little bit surprised that I was able to win to be honest! I knew our car was quick obviously, but Petter, Andreas and Ken are all fantastic drivers – and I honestly didn’t believe I would be able to beat them. There is just something inside my mind when I get into the finals of a race. I just really love it when the pressure is on and it’s all or nothing! I think Petter made a little bit of a different tyre choice at the end of the weekend, so maybe I just edged ahead there too. Overall I’m just so happy – thank you so much to Monster Energy and Gymkhana GRiD for having me here in South Africa it has been a fantastic experience. I’m grateful for every opportunity I get to race. I prepared as well as I could. Petter won the first time he came to GRiD, and now I’ve done the same it feels really good.”
Ken Block – 4th place AWD
“The whole event here in Johannesburg, South Africa was amazing – Monster Energy and the organisers have done an incredible job. We’ve been very quick all weekend, and by the end my time compared to the Volkswagen’s were pretty close – it was only in the final stages that they edged us out. Then it came down to a battle between me and Andreas. I beat him on the first round and then we made a small change to the engine map on my car, which meant he just had the edge on track. It’s been tons of fun to drive, and even just to watch has been so much fun. I’m just stoked to continue Gymkhana GRiD and hope it gets bigger and better in the future! Thank you to all the fans that have come out to watch us race; it’s been an absolute blast!”
Photos by Marian Chytka and Rich Sutherland.