In his first outing of 2018 in his Ford Focus RS RX rallycross car and his debut in the Americas Rallycross Championship, this past weekend, Ken Block overcame a series of technical challenges throughout the race day yesterday and placed himself and his Focus squarely on the podium, landing his best rallycross finish in the last three seasons with a 2nd overall and kicking off his return to racing rallycross in America in a big way.
During his qualifying races throughout the day on Saturday, Block finished first in his Q1 race, first in his Q2 race, third in his Q3 race and second in his Q4 race, leaving him sitting in 3rd overall in Qualifying going into his Semi-Final—which, due to some unfortunate contact from elsewhere in the field, found Block finishing in 2nd and setting him up for P3 on the starting grid of the Final. From that starting position, Block advanced to P2 by turn 1 and held that position for the entirety of the Final.
“Today was a challenge for sure,” said Block. “We had some technical issues with the suspension on both my car and on Steve’s [Arpin] car, which made it hard to keep the pace we needed to be competitive out there, but, Steve’s Loenbro Motorsports team did a great job getting the cars repaired and out there and kept us competitive. It definitely felt great to be back racing rallycross in American and I’m stoked that I’m heading home with a 2nd overall from Austin. I’m looking forward to Canada in a few weeks, that’s a fun track that suits our cars well and I’ve got two seasons of experience running it from my time in World RX, so I’m hoping for another positive result up there.”
Block’s Hoonigan teammate, Steve Arpin, qualified 5th overall but suffered a mechanical failure in his rear suspension in the Semi-Final and was unable to advance to the Final.
Both Block and Arpin will be competing in their Ford Focus RS RX’s in a few weeks during ARX’s third round of the season, taking place August 4th and 5th at Trois-Rivieres in Canada.
In the interim, Block is competing in the New England Forest Rally next weekend in his 90’s Ford Escort RS Cossie Group A/WRC car. Follow his social media to see the action.
Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block has officially kicked off his 2018 rallycross program, in partnership with Steve Arpin and Loenbro Motorsports. Combined, both extremely talented drivers have 10 overall rallycross wins, countless podium finishes and are looking to add more to their respective résumés with help from an updated Ford Focus RS RX rallycross car that Arpin and his team have been developing during the first half of 2018. This updated car will usher in a new era of performance for the Focus RS RX.
The partnership is built on Block—as well as Hoonigan—bringing their motorsports marketing expertise to the table, while Arpin’s side brings extensive technical prowess when it comes to developing and running rallycross cars.
“When I made the decision to return to a handful of rallycross events this year, I knew partnering with Steve [Arpin] and his team was the right move,” said Block. “I’ve always liked Steve as a driver and I had been keeping an eye on how he and his team had developed the older Ford Fiesta RX43 chassis and were still achieving top results with it, so I knew I wanted to work with them with our Focus RS RX. When I made that decision, Ford stepped up and decided to then supply Steve a Focus RS RX of his own to further help assist in the development. Needless to say, I’m very excited about the forward progress they've made and I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel at the race in Austin July 14th!”
"Obviously I'm excited about partnering with Ken [Block] this season," said Arpin. "He and I have always gotten along great at the track in the past and I think we're both in a position to help each other this year. I'm also happy about the fact that Ford Performance entrusted myself and my team to help further develop the Focus RS RX rallycross program, the car has felt amazing in our testing with the revisions we've made and I'm really eager to get it out on track and put it to the ultimate test against the competition."
Both drivers will be competing in the three remaining ARX (Americas Rallycross Championship) races, taking place in Austin, TX, at Circuit of the Americas on July 14th, Trois Rivieres in Quebec, Canada August 4th to the 5th and back in Austin at COTA September 29th to the 30th. Block will also compete In the U.S. round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, taking place that same weekend of September 29th and 30th at COTA. Additionally, both drivers will also compete at Travis Pastrana’s Nitro World Games rallycross event, taking place September 22nd and 23rd at the Utah Motorsports Complex outside of Salt Lake City, UT.
For 2018 rallycross, both Block and Arpin have cars that feature similar, yet slightly different, variations of Block’s previously shown livery for the 2018 season, created by artist Death Spray Custom. Both drivers also have their signature team gear - based off of this livery design - available for purchase online at hoonigan.com.
For more updates throughout the season, be sure to follow both on Instagram at @KBlock43 and @Arpin00.