A look back at Scandinavia’s most prestigious drifting competition held at Mantorp Park, 28 – 30 September.
What is this Championship?
“Gatebil Scandinavian Drift Series, Presented by Meguiar’s aim to be the greatest drift series in Nordics with the best drivers from countries such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, among others. We aim to create a professional series where the drivers fight on track and keep a good fellowship off the track.
The goal is to become the largest drifting series in the Nordics, and drivers from all over the world are welcome to participate in the series. We want to create a series where the drivers fight on the track and help each other off the track. Gatebil Swedish Drift Series considers the atmosphere among the teams a crucial part of a good series.” – Gatebil.no
The first day
Welcome to another recap; this time, we’ve teamed up with Kristaps Bardzins of Gatebil, who has provided us with these fantastic photographs.
Everything started on Thursday when the cars headed to the track for the first time at Mantorp Park in Sweden. The qualifications were set to begin after some standard training sessions. With a well-balanced group of cars and drivers, largely from Sweden, and ideal conditions, it was clear that the session would be enjoyable.
With some of the championship contenders missing, such as Tor-Arne Kvia, the day ended with an all-Swedish Top 3. David Skogsby, the most renowned wildcard of this round, took first place with an incredible 92-point run, followed by an equal good Alfred Grindberg, who currently sits in third place on the rankings, with 92 points. Johan Andersson finished third with a solid 91-point performance. Andersson is the current championship leader, and he has proven it!
Small finals the following day
The finals began on Friday with some interesting Top-32 battles. It’s an ideal opportunity for us to show you the diverse starting grid, which includes some pretty unusual drift cars.
Have you ever seen a Volvo drift? Yes? Okay, but I’m sure you’ve never seen a V40 slide sideways! This time, it was against a Mercedes CLK driven by Marten Stangberg, who defeated Michael Andersson.
Speaking of Volvos, here’s another unusual drift car, this time a Volvo S60 driven by Swede Richard Lord. The 850hp flagship was defeated by a “weaker” 600hp Toyota Chaser driven by Mathias Nordengen.
Another uncommon sighting was Franzen’s 1UZ-powered Mazda RX-8. Jonas beat Felix Molander and his Nissan 350Z and heads onto Top 16 the next day.
Viktor Wettemark, this year’s DMEC wildcard, received a bye-run because Marius Svorkas did not make it to the starting line. Nonetheless, it is one of the most gorgeous vehicles on display!
Alfred Grindberg gave Alexander Svensson no chance, propelling his S14 straight to the Top 16.
Alexander Boström slipped out of turn 1 straight into the field, giving Johan Andersson an easy play.
Without any surprises, all of the favourites advanced to the Top 16, including championship challengers Grindberg and Johansson, as well as Ole-Peter Vatn, who placed fourth on the board and had a decent chance of winning the championship. Also, Christoffer Syvertsen of Norway, who is now in sixth place, has some minor chances for the title.
The finals have arrived, and it’s time to get serious
The championship heats up, and we’re pumped up for Saturday’s finals. The first match saw wildcard David Skogsby taking on Viktor Wettemark. The latter was the lucky winner after both drivers demonstrated good proximity. Next up was Jim Olofsson in his iconic E30 BMW, who gets an OMT against Filip Josefsson and his camaro-face swapped S14. But Olofsson decided the second battle for himself after Josefsson skimmed the dirt on the outside of turn 1 and straightened too much once he got all wheels on track again.
Marten Stangberg then faced Mathias Nordengen. Stangberg advanced to the Top 8 after a very close matchup.
Well, it wouldn’t be an SDS race weekend without Kevin Brunberg, another fan favourite. He had to fight Norwegian Christoffer Syvertsen, and hell, he did! After the first two runs, all three judges agreed on an OMT. Brunberg then went off course when both drivers rematched, handing Syvertsen the victory.
The next match was between Alfred Grindberg and Jonas Franzen, and Grindberg easily advanced. After an all-Norwegian matchup. Odd-Helge Helstad and Ole-Peter Vatn were paired together. Thank the judges who made a decision because I couldn’t see a clear winner here. However, Helstad advanced and defeated the first championship contender.
The championship leader was going to face Viktor Andersson, the young gun we previously featured. Unfortunately, Viktor suffered from mechanical issues and had to stop before the second run.
The final Top 16 match was between Tony Averstedt of Sweden and Max Vonka of Norway. They gave it their all and received an OMT after their first runs. However, it was Max who won in the end after Averstedt made contact while chasing.
The last runs of the season
We’re heading into the night where Jim Oloffson met Viktor Wettemark for the great 8. The judges chose to postpone the decision and declare it an OMT after Viktor showed some big angles and Oloffson maintained a cool head throughout.
The judges had a hard job to do after the rematch because both drivers gave it their all to advance. Jim literally freaked out when his victory was revealed.
The next pairing was Stangberg versus Syvertsen, another close match between two SDS regulars. Syvertsen outperformed Stangberg in his chase run and made the cut to the semifinal.
Following that came a highly anticipated match between Alfred Grindberg and Odd-Helge Helstad of Norway. Odd-Helge drove a stunning S14.5, which means he switched the S14’s nose for the S15’s. Despite having 950 Horsepower under the bonnet, Helstad slowed down on multiple occasions, making it difficult for Grindberg in the chase position. Grindberg, on the other hand, did an excellent job of adjusting and avoiding contact. Grindberg was declared the winner by the judges.
And it seems that he was quite satisfied with that decision…
Johan Andersson had to demonstrate his commitment in order to win the championship, and he was challenged by Max Vonka. Vonka was unable to match Johan’s angles and lost some ground while chasing him. In the end, Andersson earned his victory, and he advanced to the semifinals, where he will face Grindberg.
Jim Olofsson and Christoffer Syvertsen will face off in our first semifinal. Sweden took on Norway in a close duel, with the two cars driving door to door until the final curve, where Syvertsen’s car straightened. Despite their second run being absolutely great, Christoffer lost the race, probably due to a minor mechanical issue in the first run. Nonetheless, Oloffson was the one who advanced.
The long-awaited championship duel was now officially underway. In the second semifinal, the two remaining title contenders faced off. Alfred Grindberg challenged Johan Andersson!
The first run, with Grindberg in the lead, delivered not a clear winner; both drivers were glued to each other. The second run was just as close, but Johansson had to make a significant correction while leading, which may cost him the victory. Grindberg was flawless and consistent throughout the weekend, and he was declared the season 2023 champion.
But the competition wasn’t finished yet; Syvertsen had a bye-run as Johansson didn´t show up at the start. He got the third step on the podium. And at the final, Jim Olofsson faced newborn champion Alfred Grindberg.
Olofsson truly wanted that first win and gave Grindberg a thrilling fight. Alfred was laser-focused and drove a slightly better line, resulting in his second win of the season.
What a weekend for Grindberg, winning both the tournament and the championship on the same day! Congratulations Alfred!
Thank you for reading, and don´t forget to stay up to date with http://www.drift.news/
Photos by Kristaps Bardzins (@bardzins)
Text by Peter Striesenow (@drift_europe)
Edit by Gediminas Astralas (@drift.news.official)