GRC

Ken Block’S 2015 Global Rallycross Recap

2015 was a season of both highs and lows for Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block. He came into the year fresh off of a second overall finish in the 2014 Global Rallycross Championship (which he missed by only 5 points) and had punctuated the end of that season with a win in Las Vegas. Block capitalized on that good fortune and momentum and carried that into the 2015 GRC season, kicking things off in a big way with a win at the first race of the year.

Block’s first win of the season came at Ft. Lauderdale and it was a great way to set the tone for the year, as well as acted as a bit of a mission statement: Block had almost nabbed the championship in 2014 and he was back with a vengance to try and bring it home in 2015. He left Florida with the win and the points lead.

His next race weekend took him to a doubleheader in Daytona, where he came out of the second race of the weekend with a 2nd place podium finish and continued to build his points lead over the rest of the field. Block then went back-to-back with 1st place finishes in New River and the first race of a doubleheader weekend in Detroit. By this point Block had established a sizeable lead in the championship points race.

The second race in Detroit wasn’t as strong of a finish for Block, but he returned to the podium in Washington D.C. with a very hard-fought 3rd overall finish. However, from that point onward, the remainder of the calendar was a string of DNFs and back of pack finishes due to general bad luck, mechanical issues and vehicle damage sustained in racing incidents from other drivers—like during the final in Las Vegas where Block’s car was so badly damaged from being slammed into by fellow competitors that he was knocked out of the final midway through it.

While the season started with promise—and both Block and his Ford Fiesta ST RX43 displayed the requisite finesse and speed required to win—it ended in a disappointing way. Despite the hardships towards the end, Block’s initial points lead had been so great that he was actually able to retain the championship lead in the standings all the way through the first 10 of 12 rounds of racing.

For 2016, Block plans to continue to compete in rallycross, having hopefully left his bad luck back in 2015.

Block Heads Into Final Grc Race Of 2015, Seeks Third Consecutive Vegas Win

Ken Block at GRC Las Vegas 2013
Ken Block at GRC Las Vegas 2013
Ken Block at GRC Las Vegas 2014
Ken Block at GRC Las Vegas 2014

This week marks the end of the 2015 Global Rallycross Championship season, a year that’s featured tons of ups and downs for Hoonigan Racing's Ken Block. While Block led the majority of the season in the points chase from the first race until the 10th race of 12, and has won three events and podium’d two others, a string of bad luck events has mathematically eliminated him from winning the championship. However, the final event of the season is always in Las Vegas, an event that Block has won the last two years in a row. And he almost won it three in a row, but his car caught fire midway through the race three seasons ago as he led the race! Watch the video below to see how it all went down.

With the knowledge that he’s always performed well in Las Vegas, Block is eager to head out and attempt to make it three in a row this week.

“Historically I’ve done well in Vegas,” said Block. “The track setups in Las Vegas always end up being some of my favorites and they’re laid out well. Maybe it’s because we always test in Las Vegas or because it’s the event that’s closest to my home in Park City, Utah, but I just feel extremely comfortable out there. I’ve had a decent season with three wins and two other podium finishes this year and I led the championship in points for the first 10 of 12 races, but I’d love to finish my year on a high note and bring home one more win before we’re done for the season. Plus I wouldn’t mind making it three in a row for this race!”

To see if Block can pull off his third win in a row at GRC Las Vegas, make sure to tune in to the actual event broadcast on November 8th at 6:30 PM EST on NBCSN.

Ken Block Suffers Bad Luck In Global Rallycross For Fourth Consecutive Event

Bushy Park, Barbados: Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block started off his 2015 Global Rallycross Championship chase with a big win at the first event of the season in Ft. Lauderdale. From there he continued to dominate and build up a lead, winning three events in total as well as multiple podiums until he reached the double-header weekend in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. That’s when Block’s luck began to change for the worse, a trend that followed him through both rounds of Los Angeles and then down to Barbados this past weekend for another double-header weekend. A weekend which saw Block, unfortunately, surrender his Championship lead.

Block came into the Barbados double-header with a 13 point lead in the Championship—despite having had a hugely frustrating Los Angeles double-header weekend the two rounds previously that were both full of terrible luck for Block. In fact, Block had a great first lap of the LA2 Final and had been in 2nd place until he had a prop shaft fail, possibly from wheel-to-wheel contact during the race. Thus, instead of coming away with a podium and points, he ended up with 10th overall in the final, which was a major blow to his points lead. And, unfortunately for Block, that same momentum followed him down to Barbados.

Saturday’s race saw Block get off to a solid start, qualifying 4th overall and then purposely taking 6th in the knockout qualifying round that followed, with the reasoning being to conserve tires since the track in Barbados was the longest of the season and eating competitors tires. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. Block was 5th overall in his Heat (because of a Jump Start penalty) and then 5th overall in his Semi-Final (due to a front driveshaft failure). This forced Block into the Last Chance Qualifier, in which he got a great start and was leading the pack fighting to get into the Final.

However, the course featured a chicane prior to the jump that was made of crushed up coral, a course feature that fellow competitors decided to start cutting completely, effectively short-coursing the track. Block kept to the racing line for the entire event because he didn’t want to risk damage to his car and didn’t want to risk getting penalized for cutting the course, but he knew that his competitors might be cutting to overtake his first overall position in the LCQ. However, despite Block taking a slightly more aggressive racing line than he had been all day during lap one, his car ended up on two wheels, followed by then being on the roof. He ended up sliding the entire way up the jump on the roof, where the car was then thrown into the air for another rotation before landing on the roof slightly off the side of the jump. This ended Block’s chances of making it into the Final for Saturday’s race. Despite the roll, Block himself was 100% fine and the Hoonigan Racing Division techs were able to get the car repaired and ready for the second race on Sunday.

Sunday saw Block have a tough qualifying session due to small issues with the car following the rapid rebuild. In his Heat he ended up smacking into the right rear wheel of fellow Ford driver Patrik Sandell after Sandell stalled his Fiesta on the starting grid, directly in the way of Block’s launch. The impact destroyed Block’s front left wheel, forcing him to DNF the Heat. Block bounced back with a 3rd in his Semi- Final, which got him into the Final. Unfortunately, in the Final, Block’s bad luck resurfaced when he suffered a destroyed front right tire, causing him to DNF in the final.

“It was a really horrible weekend for me unfortunately,” said Block. “I came down here off of two really tough races full of bad luck in Long Beach and I thought I had all of that behind me. Unfortunately, despite qualifying well for Saturday’s event, I was hit with more mechanical bad luck and then I had the roll after hitting a portion of the course that myself and other drivers and team managers had pointed out was dangerous and could potentially damage or roll someone’s car. So, yeah, not really happy with how my Saturday went and then my Sunday was almost just as bad. I came in here still holding onto a lead in the Championship and now, despite our best efforts, I’m mathematically out from having any sort of shot at winning it this year. It’s crazy how I can go from having such an incredible year and leading the points to four unlucky races in a row and be out of the title chase! But, that’s racing and I’m going to keep pushing hard in Las Vegas when we get there. I’ve won that event the last two years in a row and I’d love to go for the hat trick there.”

Ken Block Podiums In Global Rallycross Washington D.C. And Further Extends Championship Points Lead

Ken Block extended his lead in the 2015 Global Rallycross Championship this weekend by taking third overall during the seventh (of 12) round of the season, which took place in Washington, D.C. The finish brings his lead in the points standings to 41 ahead of second place and is Block’s fifth podium finish of the championship thus far.

Friday’s Practice and Qualifying sessions saw Block slightly off his normal rallycross pace, as he and HRD worked to find a suspension setup that worked for the track in Washington, D.C., which was located adjacent to RFK Stadium. In the end, Block qualified mid-pack in 7th. He then went on to end Friday’s race activities with a 4th place finish in Heat 1.

Saturday saw Block back on his usual pace, having finally found a car setup that worked for both himself and the track in Washington. Heat 2 however, was a very intense outing, with Sebastian Erikkson utilizing Block’s rear bumper as a braking zone coming out of the joker when Erikkson misjudged his braking. While the impact didn’t cause too much damage to Block’s car, it did throw off his pace slightly. It was a moot issue however due to a red flag that popped out later in the heat due to Patrik Sandell being spun out and stalled in the middle of a corner.

The re-start to finish the Heat was favorable for Block, which he almost won until the final corner where he was pushed wide from the inside by fellow Ford driver Nelson Piquet Jr. This move sent Block towards the wall, forcing him to back off and sending him into almost a “tank slapper,” which he ultimately recovered from. Unfortunately, during the time where Block was trying to keep the car out of the wall, both Piquet Jr. and Patrik Sandell got by, leaving Block to take third overall in Heat 2.

Block’s Semi-Final went much smoother than his second Heat, comparatively cruising on through to a second place finish. The Final saw Block starting back further on the Grid than he would have liked, but he made due and before the first lap was completed he had worked his way into third overall, a position he was able to hold and defend for the entirety of the 10 lap Final.

“This was a tough weekend for me,” said Block. “I struggled with setup initially so that was really frustrating, but I knew I’d be ok once we got into the actual racing. But, my qualifying was off so that hurt us a bit in terms of my position on the starting grid. However, despite all of the insanity that happened in my second heat today I managed to drive hard and smartly and worked myself into another podium, which is awesome. Overall, I’m really stoked that I was able to extend my lead in the championship here this weekend. It’s a long championship and I am right where I want to be right now."

Blocks’ next race is GRC Los Angeles, taking place the weekend of September 12th.

Block Suffers Tough Call At Grc Detroit 2

HRD’s Ken Block set out to double down on Saturday’s win during part one of the Detroit double-header GRC weekend with a follow-up performance during Sunday’s part two race. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out as he had hoped.

Block was the top qualifier during open qualifying and then was 5th fastest during the knockout top-6 qualifying session thereafter due to a differential issue in his drivetrain. Block then took 3rd in his heat, followed by placing 2nd in his Semi-Final. This put him on the second row of the starting grid for the Final, which he started in P4. When the final started, Block got off to a solid start and made it successfully through turn 1 in 3rd position overall. However, heading down the straight into the split between the joker and the main course, Block got caught up in an unavoidable racing incident that took place in front of him, which forced him into a contact situation that he couldn’t avoid.

The situation was competitors Patrik Sandell and Scott Speed (fighting for 1st overall ahead of Block), coming into contact with each other approaching the joker split. The contact by Speed into Sandell forced Sandell to brake earlier than normal in order to safely make the joker entrance. This early braking occurred as Block was immediately behind Sandell, forcing Block’s front right bumper into unavoidable contact with Sandell’s left rear bumper. This then put Sandell into a slide, which led to him making contact with the tire wall, which he recovered from and continued to race. A lap later, a red flag was called, which led to a re-start of the final. At the time of the red flag, Block was in 1st overall. During the red flag, race officials decided to slap Block with a heavy penalty that sent him to the very back of the starting grid. While Block managed to finish 7th overall after the re-start.

“I’m disappointed in the way the race officials handled the racing incident on Sunday during the final,” said Block. “Myself and my team, as well as fellow GRC racers, have reviewed the footage and we feel that the incident ahead of me was caused by aggressive driving by another driver to which I could not react to quickly enough. So, my contact with Patrik was a non-malicious racing incident, simple as that. I’m battling for a Championship and this was a huge setback—I missed out on a ton of points because of a judgment call by an official and I do not agree with that call at all."

Ken Block Wins Grc Detroit #1, Improves Overall Lead In Championship Points

Detroit, MI: Seven days ago, Ken Block took 2nd overall at the New England Forest Rally. Today, Block hit the Global Rallycross track in Detroit and won the event outright, marking his third win of the 2015 GRC season, increasing his overall Championship Points lead and also becoming the most-winning driver in GRC history, now with a total of six total race wins.

A double-header event, Detroit #1 was an exciting event from the start. Forced to skip the qualifying session due to jump repair issues, the event seeded drivers based on their Championship Points standing. With Block heading into the event sitting first-overall, he was seeded P1 for his First Heat. Block proceeded to win his Heat cleanly and maintain that P1 positioning for his Semi-Final. Block then won his Semi-Final as well, securing P1 for the starting grid of the Final.

In the Final, Block had a strong launch, but was forced to concede the lead in Turn One due to overcooking the turn slightly. However, he slotted into 2nd place and focused on running smart and building upon his points lead in the Championship. Lap 7 of 10 saw fellow Ford driver, Patrick Sandell, who was in the lead, suffer a mechanical issue, which Block capitalized on. With three laps to go, Block got ahead and drove his Ford Fiesta ST RX43 fast and out front all the way across finish line.

“I’m stoked about winning today’s race in Detroit,” said Block. “This is a home event for one of my top sponsors, Ford, so it’s awesome to be able to win here in front of all of the Ford employees that came out to watch. I came into this event with a lead in the points and my only goal was to maintain and build upon that. Fortunately for myself, I built upon that in the best way possible with a 1st place finish! Now I’ve gotta get focused on starting all over again tomorrow when we do the second part of this double-header weekend here in Detroit and focus on continuing to build my points.”

Block races again tomorrow at Detroit #2 where he’ll try and continue to build upon his winning streak and further his lead in the Championship Points standings.

Ken Block Wins Global Rallycross Round 4 And Takes The Championship Lead

Jacksonville, NC: Ken Block arrived to the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station outside of Jacksonville, North Carolina, intent on regaining the Global Rallycross Championship points lead—which he did, by winning the fourth round of the 2015 calendar.

At .993 miles, the course setup at Marine Corps Air Station, New River, was the longest on the calendar for the 2015 season. A mixture of runways and dirt, the course didn’t exactly suit Block’s driving style, but he found the speed he needed to bring home the win.

Block started the racing on Sunday with a difficult First Heat where he had a bad launch off the starting line, forcing him to have to fight his way into a decent position. Fortunately, he was able to do so with some good passes and finished the First Heat in third. However, his Second Heat didn’t go as smoothly, with Block sustaining a big hit from fellow racer Tanner Foust, which broke part of Block’s rear suspension. He was able to carry on and finish the Heat, but with a dismal result.

The result of the Heats put Block on the second row of the starting grid for his Semi-Final. Block managed to storm through the Semi though, including putting down a tough pass on fellow Ford racer Steve Arpin in the last lap, pushing Block into first place across the finish line of the Semi and onto the front of the starting grid for the final.

In the final, Block had a terrible launch off the line and immediately fell from the front of the pack to the very back. But, he got going quickly and started working on making up lost positioning. Five laps in, Block had managed to work up through the rest of the field to find himself sitting in third overall. However, the race was red flagged due to a crash, forcing a restart.

The restart proved beneficial for Block. Starting again sitting P2 on the starting grid, Block nailed his launch, heading into the first corner in the lead, which he maintained throughout the duration of the 4-lap restart final all the way to the checkered flag.

“This was a wild race for me today,” said Block. “I had a strange mix of highs and lows but I’m stoked with the end result. During the first part of the final, I was actually just really excited to have worked my way into third overall, since I’d had a terrible launch and I’m focused on the championship points. However, that restart proved beneficial for me. I managed to absolutely nail my launch, get in front of everyone and stay there. I’m walking away from this race with the points lead in the championship, which is awesome. I’m really stoked to be able to bring home my second win of the season and be first overall in points.”

Block’s next competitive event will take him back to stage rally, this time at Rally America’s New England Forest Rally, taking place July 17th and 18th in Newry, Maine.

Ken Block Takes Second At Round Three Of The 2015 Global Rallycross Championship In Daytona

Ken Block takes second place at GRC Round 3 in Daytona, FL.
Ken Block leads the pack in Daytona, Florida
Ken Block mid-air at GRC Round 3 in Daytona, FL
Block finishes the final on three wheels, securing championship points.
Ken Block in the lead at Global Rallycross in Daytona
Roncar photo documenting the intense weather at GRC Daytona 2015
Head Hoonigan Ken Block leads the pack at GRC Daytona
Ken Block's flame thrower, the Ford Fiesta ST RX43
Ken Block 43 signs autographs for fans at Global Rallycross Daytona
After enduring cockpit temperatures of 140º F in the racecar, Ken Block takes his trophy straight to his kids' pool at the team service area after GRC Round 3 in Daytona, Florida.

Daytona Beach, FL: Straight off a weekend of demos in South Africa, Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block headed into Daytona Beach, Florida, for Rounds Two and Three of the 2015 Global Rallycross Championship. While he placed 8th overall in the final on Saturday’s Round Two event—a feat accomplished on three wheels after a racing incident that sent him backwards into a tire wall—he bounced back with a vengeance during Sunday’s Round Three and put himself once again on the podium for the second time of the season, adding to the points he racked up with his win in Ft. Lauderdale with a second place finish during Sunday’s Round Three event.

On Saturday, Block qualified second overall, won both of his Heats and won his Semi-final during Saturday’s Round Two event. This led to him starting the Saturday Final sitting P2 on the start grid. Coming out of the first turn, he was able to make a move for first place, which lasted all-too-briefly, when fellow Ford driver, Patrick Sandell and Block came together down the straight, sending both into spins with Block ending his going backwards into a tire barrier. While Block’s car was damaged, he was able to press on and finish the Final—even despite losing his right rear tire and having to drive on three wheels—to rack up some points towards his championship chase.

Sunday, however, was a better day for Block. While he qualified 2nd fastest-overall, he was unable to participate in GRC’s new “knockout” qualifying session (that takes the six top qualifiers and pits them against each other in yet a further qualifying session) due to a mechanical issue. Despite the setback and a less than-ideal grid position, Block took second in his Heat and then proceeded to come away off a first-place finish in his Semi-final, securing P2 on the Finals grid for the second time in two days. For the Final, Block did what he had to do to fight for a podium position, finding himself in second place by the middle of the first lap and maintaining that to the end of the Final.

“This was a crazy race weekend for me,” said Block. “The heat out here in Daytona was intense, temps inside the car reached almost 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so that was definitely an extra challenge this weekend! Saturday was going really well up until 15 seconds into the final when Patrick [Sandell] and I had our contact. I was able to still drive pretty hard and cross the finish line to get some points, but I was definitely disappointed. Fortunately, Sunday went way better for me and I was able to avoid too much contact out there, find relatively clean air and bring home my second podium of the season with a second place finish.”

With his 8th place finish during Round Two and his 2nd place finish during Round Three, Block now sits 2nd overall in the Global Rallycross Championship points standings. Block’s next event is the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where he’ll be doing demo runs in both his Ford Mustang Hoonicorn RTR from Gymkhana SEVEN, as well as the all-new Ford Focus RS, taking place June 26th, 27th and 28th.

Ken Block Wins Round 1 Of The 2015 Global Rallycross Championship In Ft. Lauderdale, Now Leading The Series In Points

KEN BLOCK WINS ROUND 1 OF THE 2015 GLOBAL RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP IN FT. LAUDERDALE, NOW LEADING THE SERIES IN POINTS
KEN BLOCK WINS ROUND 1 OF THE 2015 GLOBAL RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP IN FT. LAUDERDALE, NOW LEADING THE SERIES IN POINTS
KEN BLOCK WINS ROUND 1 OF THE 2015 GLOBAL RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP IN FT. LAUDERDALE, NOW LEADING THE SERIES IN POINTS
KEN BLOCK WINS ROUND 1 OF THE 2015 GLOBAL RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP IN FT. LAUDERDALE, NOW LEADING THE SERIES IN POINTS

Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Ken Block arrived to Florida for the first round of the 2015 Global Rallycross Championship season with one mission: starting the year with a solid race that would help lay the foundation for him to try and win the championship. After two days of very fast driving in the heat of Florida, he did more than just that and kicked off his 2015 season with a big win.

“I couldn’t be happier with my result this weekend,” said Block. “We put in a lot of hard work as a team in the pre-season and that paid off huge for us today. This style of track didn’t really play into my strengths as a driver, but I was able to work with my team to get the car to the right place and overcome what I felt was a deficit on my end. I pulled something off here that I wasn’t fully sure I’d be able to, so I’m absolutely stoked with the result and to be leaving here leading the series in the points standing.”

Block started the event well, being 2nd fastest overall in practice on Saturday morning and getting through the first Heat of the event Saturday afternoon. Block then hit the circuit again Sunday morning for his second Heat of the event where he placed 2nd, which set him up for position two on the front row of his Semi-Final. In the Semi-Final, Block outdrove the competition with some deft maneuvering and tight lines, winning the Semi and securing Pole Position for the starting grid of the afternoon’s Final.

In the Final, Block had a quick launch and immediately targeted the Joker Lap on his first pass. Making it through the Joker safely, Block had open air ahead of him and began to work on breaking away from the remainder of the pack. During the 10 lap final, Block continued to put speed between himself and the rest of the field, hammering it completely down on his fourth lap, where he set the fastest lap time of the event with a 29.9 second pass. Block stormed on to win the Final, starting the first round of the 2015 Global Rallycross Championship in the best way possible.

Block’s next competitive event will be the weekend of June 6th in Austin, Texas, at Summer X Games.

Ken Block Kicks Off His 2015 Global Rallycross Season

FT LAUDERDALE, FL: Tomorrow kicks off the start of Ken Block’s bid for the 2015 Global Rallycross Championship in his Ford Fiesta ST RX43, beginning with round 1 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Block comes into this weekend’s event having taken second overall in last year’s championship (having missed first overall by only five points), a quick recap of last season:

  • 2 wins (Charlotte and Las Vegas)
  • 1 perfect event (Charlotte: qualified first, won all heats, won semi, won final)
  • Was the highest average qualifier for the season
  • Had the most heat wins in 2014 (also has the most heat wins in the history of GRC with 30)
  • Ended the season 2nd overall in the championship

In the downtime between the end of the 2014 GRC season and the start of the 2015 season, Block has stayed busy with a string of great events:

  • Won the final round of the 2014 GRC Championship in Vegas
  • Won the Gymkhana GRID in Madrid, Spain
  • 2nd place at the Bologna Motorshow racing against well-known fellow rally drivers like Robert Kubica and Gigi Galli
  • Won the first round of the 2015 New Zealand national rally championship, Rally Whangarei
  • Won Leg Two of the second round of the 2015 New Zealand national rally championship, Rally Otago (including 7 stage wins)
  • Launched Gymkhana SEVEN (which now has over 25+ million views)

“I’m excited to be getting back behind the wheel of my Fiesta RX43 and doing some rallycross again,” said Block. “We’ve worked hard in the off season on some small improvements here and there and we’ve had some great testing sessions leading into this event. I’m feeling highly confident in myself, my car and my team to be able to get things done on the track this year.”

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