Tuesday 3 September 2019

The Solbergs chase Gymkhana GRiD glory in Warsaw.

PHOTO CREDIT: Oliver Solberg Media Office
After thrilling thousands of fans with a fascinating family fight at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed earlier this year, Petter and Oliver will face each other again at Saturday’s Gymkhana GRiD in Warsaw, Poland.

In a slight change with normal procedure, we’ve asked Oliver to give you the low-down on what’s to come.

Oliver Solberg: Hello. Do you remember GRiD last year?

Petter Solberg: I do. 

OS: So, you’ll remember you were lucky to make the final…

PS: Yeah, yeah, it was a close fight in the semi-final. Who was it I was racing? I can’t remember now.

OS: I would have beaten you if I didn’t have the engine problem. And I was in the Citroën Xsara with 380bhp and you were in the Volkswagen Polo R Supercar with 600! Can I drive the Polo this time?

PS: No.

OS: Please…

PS: No.

OS: OK, then I have to beat you with the Xsara. I don’t mind, it’s a fantastic car. You like GRiD, don’t you?

PS: It’s good fun. It’s so important to have fun when you are driving. Like you know, there’s time when everything has to be really serious, but there’s also time when you can give something back to the fans and everybody who is travelling to the event.

I think GRiD in Poland’s going to be huge. Remember Poland’s round of the World Rally Championship? There were always so many people there, with such a good atmosphere. When you bring an event like this to the centre of such a cool city like Warsaw and get Monster Energy to put on the show… I think it’s going to be amazing.

OS: I agree and I know what you mean when you can give the people something to smile about – but it’s still competition.

PS: It is. That’s why I’m driving the Polo!

OS: Who’s going to be the main competition for you?

PS: There’s always Ken [Block] isn’t there and there are a few other specialists who know the Gymkhana side of the sport really well. 

OS: Anybody you fear in particular?

PS: Not really.

OS: Nobody?

PS: No.

OS: What about me?

PS: Yeah, true… but still nobody I fear! This is part of my Farewell Tour, and you don’t want to spoil that, do you?

OS: OK, I take it easy on you. You’re enjoying the Tour?

PS: Honestly, it’s fantastic. There’s so much interest. Goodwood was just unbelievable, one of the best weekends ever for both of us – so nice and so cool. Then it was the same with the Norges Råeste Bakkeløp hillclimb in Norway. Do you remember what happened that weekend? 

OS: No.

PS: I beat your record from last year! And now we come to Gymkhana, which is going to be fantastic. I have such good memories from this event in South Africa at the end of last season. OK, I was a bit sad I didn’t win, but Johan [Kristoffersson], my PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team-mate did win, I was second and you were third. The emotion on that podium was so, so special.

OS: Do you think we can both make the podium again on Saturday night?

PS: I think we can. 

OS: Do you think I can win?

PS: Only if I lend you my car.

OS: Can I borrow the Polo?

PS: No.
Gymkhana Grid 2019 Finals track layout revealed by Ken Block.
Saturday (September 7) is the 10th running of an event dreamed up by the Solberg’s fellow Monster Energy athlete and rally driver Ken Block. After qualifying rounds in Japan, South Africa, Norway, Britain, Greece and Spain, 64 drivers will line-up for the main day of head-to-head competition.

The event gets underway on Wednesday (September 4) with the first of two days of practice, when the drivers get to learn the intricacies of a course which offers a blend of autocross, drifting and time trial.

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