Round 2 in Greece witnessed a thrilling victory as Giorgos Christoforou secured his first-ever triumph in the Drift Kings competition. Piloting the upgraded BMW 1M, Christoforou triumphed in the second race, breaking his previous string of setbacks. Francesco Giori from Italy also secured his second Pro2 series victory in a row, while Sandra Janusauskaite from Lithuania won and led in the Queen series.
The race took place at the Serres racing circuit on May 20-21, drawing a comparatively smaller crowd due to several unfavourable circumstances. With three preceding matches in Greece over the past month, coinciding with national Greek election day and facing competition from other events in the Balkan region, attendance was lower than expected. The track layout followed a similar pattern to last year’s grand final in Serres, albeit with a shorter route and enhanced manoeuvring opportunities. The pivotal point of the race was the challenging K5 turn, capable of derailing even the most skilled drivers if not approached with caution.
The action kicked off on Saturday at 9:00, with participants receiving instructions from the judges regarding the track design and expectations. Single test passes by Pro2 and Queen class drivers took place at 10:00, followed by tests from competitors in the Pro class at 11:00. Free trial passes were conducted at 12:00 for all participants, concluding with a final briefing from the judges and the day’s graded passes.
In the Pro category, Ioannis Vernikos nearly achieved perfection, securing a score of 99 and registering the highest speed of 145 kilometres per hour. Stavros Grillis, the previous race winner in Serres, claimed second place with 96.75 points and an entry speed of 129 km/h. Rounding out the top three was last year’s Drift Kings International Series runner-up, Giorgos Christoforou, also known as “Ela Koko,” with 93 points. Christoforou recorded an entry speed of 134 km/h and executed two nearly identical passes. Dimo Georgiev from Bulgaria secured the pole position in the Pro2 series, while Sandra Janusauskaite from Lithuania took #1 in the Queen series qualifications.
Sunday marked the second and final day of the race, commencing at 9:00 with the announcement of scores from the single passes. Judges then provided a briefing on the double-graded passes, and the drivers proceeded with the Pro2 and Queen trials, culminating with the Pro class at 11:00. The day reached its pinnacle with the tsuiso races! In the Pro category, last year’s runner-up Giorgos Christoforou was exceptional as he broke the curse that had plagued him in Serrai. He successively eliminated Gediminas Levickas and Stavros Grillis in the semifinals, reaching the grand final where he defeated Patrick Csolotei, who ranked second in the standings and secured the first position for the first time in his career on this specific track. In the small final, Stavros Grillis faced Ioannis Vernikos, who had the highest score in the preliminary round. The young Stavros Grillis emerged as the winner of the battle for the last podium spot.
The winner of the race, Giorgos Christoforou, also known as “Ela Koko,” stated: “Finally!!! After several unlucky years at the Serres track, despite everything indicating that we could have made it to the podium, we finally managed to secure first place! The car and the team were flawless. We went into Sunday knowing that we would face tough battles. We had our morning practice runs, and after making some adjustments to the setup, we found more grip, fully prepared to give it our all! In the first battle against the Lithuanian with the Toyota GT86, who ranked fourth in the championship, we eliminated him with two victories. In the top 4, we faced the highly competitive Stavros Grillis, last year’s winner in Serres. Once again, with two victories, we managed to advance to the grand final. I faced Patrick, the second-ranked driver in the Drift Kings championship, with a highly competitive 350Z. We gained a significant advantage of 8-2 by delivering an exceptional Leading run. However, the roles reversed when we had to do a secured run and secure the victory, which, as you know, is something we never do. We showed everyone that we came here to win this race, and that’s exactly what we did.
In the Pro2 category, Francesco Giori eliminated Alexandros Mattheou and Dimo Georgiev and faced Iva Rusinova in the final to claim the first position. In the small final, Gabor Kanalovics prevailed over Dimo Georgiev to secure the last step on the podium. In the Queen category, Sandra Janusauskaite emerged as the great winner.