In case all those haters think Ken Block is too “big time” to attend anything but WRC events, or that his Gymkhana series are nothing more than camera tricks, you might be interested to learn that Ken recently won the competitive gymkhana series he helped create in 2010. Run in Europe with Monster Energy as Gymkhana GRID: The European Gauntlet, not only did Block compete for the first time in two years, he also set the fastest course time ever recorded on the track used for the series.
“It felt amazing to be at a competitive gymkhana event again,” said Block. “I really enjoyed the invitational we ran at Irwindale Speedway in 2010 and I’m stoked we were able to work with Monster for 2012 to make it happen. It looked like the fans and drivers had a great time – I know I definitely did! Hopefully we can build and grow the series going into 2013 and possibly bring some of this competitive gymkhana action back to America as well.”
The course involves two mirrored tracks side-by-side. Drivers run each course once, with the combined two-pass time being the driver’s final score. Certain portions of the course have mandatory “slide/drift” sections. Two classes of cars are permitted ¬ all-wheel and rear-wheel drive.
Gymkhana GRID: European Gauntlet held four events in France, UK, Germany and Holland, with competitors fighting for the chance to advance to the finale at Santa Pod Raceway in the UK. The eight finalists (two from each event, one in the AWD class and one in RWD class) went head-to-head in a bracket format to fight for the right to take on AWD class boss Block, and RWD class boss Vaughn Gittin Jr.
Unfortunately for Block, the AWD class winner, Dmitrij Sribny, had car problems and he was unable to make the starting line to take on Block in the final.
However, Global RallyCross competitor Liam Doran was able to stand in and take on Block in a friendly final matchup.
While Doran put up a good fight, Block’s gymkhana experience paid off and not only did Block take the win on both sides of the course, he managed to set the fastest pass of the entire season with a blistering 39.34sec run, despite the track surface being wet from earlier rain.