Now in to details, one week in South Africa made me love the Country and gave me loads of positive feelings, met new friends and tried new things like a crocodile and zebra grilled meat.
Monster Energy fuelled Race week consisted of 4 days full of action on brand new built track with freshly laid tarmac. It was nothing, but only the pleasure to slay my SCR Subaru and smoke loads of Toyo Tires!
Our journey started from Heathrow Airport in UK with almost 12 hours up in the air, we landed in SA Johannesburg International Airport and was transferred to the hotel, which was in Carnival City and just 5 min walk from the track. It really felt like a dream place with warm sunny weather and very fresh air. After checking in to hotel it was a time to finally reunite with my SCR race car after long 6 weeks shipping in container, it was one of the best moments to see her safe with thanks to Woodland Group, who was managing the shipping.
Following day was general preparation and checks on the car and meeting the main man from my South African SRD support team Johnny.
Media day ended with failure of my stock 6 speed gearbox, which decided to give up from my pressure and 1st gear made it way out of the game, I had a spare box, which was different spec from what I needed, but still was good enough for following practice day. My SRD support team of local guys changed it overnight and started to rebuild my original gearbox, so we could change it back for Saturday qualifying.
Saturday morning car was back and ready with 4 qualification sessions, where each of my runs had an improvement with final result of me qualifying in 5th position in my AWD class, but at same time that was also an overall 5th out of 46 cars which made in to Saturdays qualifying, while original number was something around 60.
Times were very quick from World RX Supercars with World Champion in WRC and RX Petter Solberg and current World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson sitting in top 2, while Andreas Bakkerud team mate of Ken Block qualified 3rd and 4th respectively.
I was placed against Carl Van As, who was one of South African guys in my top 16 battle, but his car didn't made to the Grid with broken differential, I was very disappointed to miss the race, but was moved straight in to top 8, where I was against Ken Blocks team mate Andreas Bakerrud in his World RallyCross Ford Focus RS RX supercar. It was very obvious, that my skills was helpless against millions worth of latest technologies packed in to that beast, but I done my best even, that I did not win the race, I still set the best time after 4 main supercars.
Finally as I predicted - VW World RX team with current World RallyCross Champion Johan Kristoffersson and 3 times World Champion Petter Solberg taking top 2 spots while Hooningan Racing team with Ken Block and Andreas Bakkerud making Top 4.
Looking forward for the new season and hoping for more Gymkhana Grid in a new year and will rethink the strategy for the main event next year... in 2 words - anyone wants to give me World RX spec car for a weekend?=)
Apart from real car racing I had my HPi RC replica to take on this Gymkhana Grid South African edition track. It was very cool playground for this little beast especially with newly upgraded engine and more grippier tyres it could perform very fast entry spins and all kind off sideway action.
Special Thanks goes to my South African support SRD team, everyone done brilliant job by looking after me during this event and providing such an amazing service!
Johnny, Brandon, Tyson, Tracy and Olga, you guys was my heroes!
Thanks to Jerry from Import parts and Mark from Samco for helping me to get things arranged for this very important event!
Massive Thanks to all my Sponsors for making my racing going and we still have much more potential to open up in future!
Thanks to all Organisers and especially Mr Ken Block with Monster Energy for bringing such an amazing Race event and make it possible to race against worlds best teams and drivers!
Congratulations to all podium finishers and well done to all drivers, competition was very strong and thats what I like most!