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."