Block Completes Wrc Spain 2014

HRD’s Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino have successfully completed the 2014 round of WRC Spain. The duo had a positive outing throughout the entire rally where they started their final day of stages on Sunday sitting 12th overall and looking to crack into the top 10—which they managed to do prior to the last stage of the event. Unfortunately, on the final stage, Block suffered a puncture on the front driver’s side tire (from a small rock in the racing line), which eventually failed completely and exploded, leaving Block to drive on three tires and a bare rim for the last 7 km of the stage. Due to the puncture the pair surrendered their top 10 finish and completed the event in 12th overall.

“That puncture on the last stage was really disappointing,” said Block. “We drove hard to put ourselves in the position to be in the top 10 and managed to pull it off, despite this being only my second stage rally of the year and 18 months since I’d last done WRC, and 3 years since my last WRC tarmac rally! Unfortunately, that’s rally and typically a puncture comes at the worst time. It is what it is though, my goal was to come on out and have a great time and I’ve definitely managed to do that.”

“The roads and fans are amazing here in Spain, plus the event organizers did a great job with this race—they even included a few mandatory donuts in the stages! Overall though it was great to be back in a World Rally Championship race and it was good to see all of my driver friends from this series. The entire weekend was really enjoyable. I love racing the WRC Ford Fiesta RS as well, so hopefully I’ll be able to add a few more of these events into my schedule next year.”

Block Moves To Tarmac On Day 3 Of Wrc Spain

Following a solid outing on Friday’s gravel stages at WRC Spain, HRD’s Ken Block took to the sublime tarmac stages in the hills of Spain on Saturday for the second road surface type of the rally.

Block, who last raced on tarmac rally stages here in 2011 at WRC Spain, went out with a simple goal: have fun and keep it clean. Having not had a lot of tarmac stage rally experience in his career, the focus for Block was to both work on getting reacquainted with notes being called as well as familiarizing himself with the limits of tire adhesion on tarmac at speed.

“I’m really just having fun out here on these stages,” said Block. “My whole focus for this event has been to come out and enjoy these absolutely amazing roads, which I’ve been doing! The roads here are a lot of fun and while I lost a position overall today, I attribute it to the fact that I’m still learning just how far I can actually push my tires on these tarmac stages. But, that’s something that simply comes with time and experience, which I’m working on. I’m looking forward to four more stages tomorrow, hopefully I can make up some time on them as well.

To see how Block does on the final day of Rally Spain, be sure to follow along here, on Instagram and Facebook.

Block Returns To The Wrc For Rally Spain

After an 18-month absence from the World Rally Championship, Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block returned this weekend, selecting WRC Spain as his single round crammed into his extremely busy 2014 race schedule.

Having not been in a WRC-spec Ford Fiesta RS since Rally Mexico in 2013 (where he finished 7th overall), Block arrived to Spain and did two days of testing leading into the event, one day for tarmac and the other for gravel since Spain features both surfaces during the event for stages.

Thursday evening saw Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino make an appearance in Barcelona for the opening ceremonies and the Super Special downtown after having been 8th fastest overall in shakedown that morning. The pair then took to the dusty hills outside of Salou, Spain for Friday’s gravel stages. Block put on a solid performance throughout the day, finishing 11th overall by the close of the day—while being only 8.2 seconds outside of cracking the top 10. Throughout the course of the day, Block drove patiently and with caution due to having not actually heard pace notes in 8 months since his last stage rally outing at Rally America’s Rally in the 100 Acre Wood (which Block won). Unfortunately, mid-afternoon on SS6, Block suffered a tire puncture and lost some time. However, after a quick swap after the stage finish, he went on to resume normal pace for SS7.

“Overall I’m fairly happy with how today went,” said Block. “I really wanted to break into the top 10 on this first full day, and I’m close, so hopefully tomorrow we can pick up the pace a bit and work ourselves in there. I’ve been doing a lot more tarmac racing as of late due to all of my rallycross racing, so I’m hoping that I'm able to transfer some of that tarmac feel and experience into this WRC chassis and move up the standings. Today was really fun though, it feels great to be back doing stage rally.”

With WRC Spain only being Block’s second stage rally event of the season, he’s keeping his overall expectations for the event fairly low. To see how he does on the first day of tarmac stages, be sure to follow along here, on Facebook and Instagram.

Ken Block Returns To Wrc With Rally Spain This Week

Barcelona, Spain: Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block makes his return to the World Rally Championship this week at WRC Spain, following an absence of more than a year (Block last competed in WRC Mexico, 2013, where he placed 7th overall) from the series due to a hugely hectic schedule that has, unfortunately, kept him from doing as much stage rally as he’d like as of late. Blocks return to Rally Spain also marks his first tarmac rally outing since 2011.

However, despite the lack of stage rally time this season (Block has competed in one rally thus far this season, Rally America’s Rally of the 100 Acre Wood where he took first overall), Block feels good about getting back into a WRC car this week. 

“I’m obviously here this weekend more as a tourist,” said Block. “What I mean by that is that I’m out here to have a great time and do as well as I possibly can. I’m very much aware that I haven’t had a lot of stage rally time this season and I haven’t been in a WRC car since Mexico last year. So, I don’t expect to be on the pace as everyone in the top of the field. However, I’m hopeful that I’ll find a quick pace early on, maintain it and if I’m feeling well, maybe push a bit harder. We’ll see, it’s too soon to tell. My personal expectations are relatively low though, my main goal is to bring the car back safe and sound every evening and my other would be to potentially break into the top 10 if the rally is favorable. We’ll see, either way, I’m stoked to be back behind the wheel in WRC for an event.”

In preparation for WRC Spain, Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino have completed two highly successful days of testing in Spain within the last week. Logging kilometers in both tarmac and gravel trims, the duo are feeling confident heading into the first stage on Thursday evening.

In addition to his testing, Block has had an action packed year, competing in WorldRX and Global RallyCross (where he’s currently in contention for the overall championship with just one event left), as well as putting out two major videos this season: Footkhana and RaptorTRAX Shredfest. He’s also found time to film Gymkhana SEVEN, which will drop sometime in November.

To catch Block in action this weekend, WRC is live streaming two of the stages. Catch the opening Super Special on Thursday, October 23rd at 6 PM CEST and the Power Stage on Sunday, October 26th at 12 PM CEST, both at www.wrcplus.com.

Block And Gelsomino Return To Wrc Mexico And Score A Best-Ever 7th Overall Finish.

After having been out of the Ford Fiesta WRC since their last World Rally Championship appearance at Finland last summer, the Hoonigan Racing Division duo of Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino returned to WRC Mexico this weekend. The event also marked the pair’s 20th-ever race in a WRC car.
Despite not having any WRC testing prior to the race—and their last bit of WRC seat time being 8-months ago—Block and Gelsomino had a solid race strategy: keep it fairly conservative and just focus on having a good time and enjoying the stages since Mexico is currently their only WRC event on the 2013 race calendar. That strategy paid off with the pair achieving their best-ever WRC finish with a highly respectable 7th overall.
“I’m stoked with how this event turned out for me,” said Block. “I was a bit nervous coming into it since I hadn’t been in the WRC car since Finland last year. There were some new, tighter and more technical stages added this year and while my normal driving style suits fast, flowing roads a bit better, I really enjoyed the new stages. Plus, as always, the fans down here in Mexico are absolutely some of the best out there. They’re so passionate and enthusiastic, it really helps make this an amazing event.”
Heading into the rally with no pre-race testing, Block got things started on Thursday morning by kicking things off with a top-10 qualifying position—an impressive feat given his lack of recent WRC seat time. He then moved on into Friday, working his way into 7th overall by the end of the day. Saturday brought further advances as Block moved into 6th overall, which is where he ended the second full day of racing. Sunday brought more consistent top-10 stage times and a third day of highly competitive pace, although eventually former factory driver—and personal friend of Block’s who has previously podiumed second in WRC Mexico—Chris Atkinson edged out 6th overall from Block, pushing him back to 7th overall.
“I’m massively impressed with Ken’s performance this weekend,” said Team Manager Derek Dauncey. “The pace he kept in regards to the top drivers in this event surprised everyone, even myself. He was very quick on every stage, which is fantastic given that he was taking a more conservative approach. I’m very pleased that he’s walked away with his best-ever finish of 7th overall.”
While Rally Mexico is currently Block’s only WRC appearance scheduled for the 2013 season, Block will still be competing in all four of the upcoming Global X Games, as well as the full Global RallyCross championship and finishing out the 2013 Rally America calendar.