Block And Gelsomino Return To Wrc At Rally Mexico 2013

Following an 8-month hiatus from competing in any WRC rounds, Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino kicked things off in Mexico this week at the third round of the 2013 WRC calendar, Rally Mexico (the last time they competed in a WRC round was 2012’s Rally Finland).

After getting back into a WRC car for the first time since late last summer, Block hit the practice/qualifying stage on Thursday morning with the goal of just running conservatively and getting reacquainted with the car. Even with this cautious approach, the HRD duo qualified in the top ten and ended up drawing 4th on road for the opening two stages on Thursday night.

“I’m pretty happy with having qualified in the top ten today,” said Block. “I haven’t been in a WRC car since Finland last year and I didn’t have any practice or testing prior to this event. So to end up with that result leaves me pretty happy. Plus, this is one of my favorite WRC rounds because of the great roads and insanely enthusiastic fans. The opening ceremony tonight was the most packed I’ve ever seen it, it was absolutely awesome.”

After a conservative drive on SS1 and SS2 on Thursday night, Block and Gelsomino enter the first full day of stages on Friday sitting in 12th overall. To see how they do, be sure to follow along here, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Saturday 03/09/2013
Having qualified in the top-10 for their first WRC appearance of 2013, the Hoonigan Racing Division duo of Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino hit the stages of WRC Mexico with the plan of running smart and conservative, since it was their first time in a WRC Ford Fiesta since August of 2012.

However, early on, it was clear that Block was feeling very comfortable behind the wheel. He charged out on the first stage of the day and immediately started putting down top-10 stage times, quickly moving up the ranks from his 10th overall qualifying position to 7th overall by the end of Friday’s stages.

“I felt good out there today,” said Block. “They’ve changed up some of the stages this year to make them a bit more tight and technical instead of fast and sweeping, and while the fast sweepers suit my driving style better, I felt confident today. The car ran great and we put down some solid stage times. I’m going to try and keep putting down similar times on Saturday.”

Hoonigan Racing Division’s team manager, Derek Dauncey, also felt that Block ran well on Friday. “I think that today was one of the best days in Ken’s WRC career thus far,” said Dauncey. “For not having been behind the wheel of a WRC car since last summer, he put on a brilliant performance. To be in 7th overall going into Saturday is quite impressive. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do tomorrow.”

To see if Block and Gelsomino can continue to move up the leaderboard, be sure to follow along here, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Block Fights Back On Day 2 Of 100 Acre Wood But The Day Ends Early With A Mechanical Dnf

After having led the day 1 stages of Rally of the 100 Acre Wood until an ice-covered off during SS6 on Friday night, Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino entered back into the rally under SuperRally rules on Saturday morning with one goal: Working their way back up through the pack to make the podium and score championship points.

Having previously won 100 Acre Wood the last six times he’d entered, Block’s entire focus for this year’s rally was to extend that streak to seven wins. Despite having been in first on day 1 prior to his off, first seemed highly unlikely after having to re-enter the rally under SuperRally rules. But second place was within reach and Block hit the stages on Saturday morning with determination in his eyes. But, with one mile left to go on SS10, Block’s car had an issue with the throttle. The gas pedal was no longer responding (a $0.50 part broke) and he was forced to pull over and retire from the rally.

“I’m gutted over having to retire from this rally,” said Block. “This is my favorite race of the year and I’ve historically done very well here. The freak snow/ice storm already sort of screwed things up for me a bit, but to then have a mechanical issue as I was clawing my way back into podium position today? Gutted is the only word I can find to describe the feeling. But, on the flip side, I’ve had six very good weekends here in the past and if it means that once every seven times I have to have a bad one, I’ll take those odds.”

While Block didn’t have the result he wanted, he’s not letting it slow him down. Next week he’ll be in Adelaide, Australia, performing Gymkhana demos during the Clipsal 500 motorsports weekend. For his next competitive event, follow Block as he returns to one of his favorite WRC rounds, WRC Mexico, March 8-10.