After a successful test prior to the start of this year’s Rally America Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino prepared themselves for the worst. While typically 100 Acre Wood is one of their favorite events due to the fast, sweeping gravel roads, weather in rural Missouri decided to be unfavorable to all competitors at the last minute, as the area of the rally was hit hard with a freezing rain/snow storm the day before the event. This meant that for the second time this year, the entire Rally America entry field would be competing on snow without studded tires.
Despite the weather handicap—and drawing first on the road, which means sweeping/plowing it for the rest of the field—Block managed to put the hammer down immediately from the start of SS1. After the first five stages of day 1, the HRD duo were sitting in 1st place overall, with an 18-second lead over the nearest competitor. Unfortunately during SS6, Block came over a blind crest and hit a large patch of sheet ice that offered zero traction (due to studded race tires not being allowed) which sent him on an off-road adventure into a fence. After getting back on the road, the car was deemed unfit to attempt the final stage of the night, SS7, so the pair retired to return for Saturday’s final stages under SuperRally rules.
“I’m really disappointed with how things went during day 1,” said Block. “This is my favorite event of the year and it’s a rally that I typically run very well at. We drew a bad road position for this freak snowstorm race, but despite that, managed to take some time out of the competition and build ourselves up a nice little lead. Unfortunately I got caught out by a huge patch of ice and we lost time trying to get back on the road and then finish the stage. We also got hit with a 5-minute penalty for missing the last stage since the car needed to be repaired. It sucks, but that’s how rally goes sometimes. Hopefully we can get back out on Saturday and make our way back to the podium.”
To see if Block and Gelsomino can get back on pace at 100 Acre Wood and make it to the podium, be sure to follow along here, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.