Rally America

Block And M-Sport Have Successful Outing At Nefr With Ford Fiesta Hfhv, R5 2ltr And R2 1ltr Cars

The 2015 Rally America New England Forest Rally was a successful event for both Ken Block and his Hoonigan Racing Division, as well as for Block’s motorsports partner, M-Sport. In addition to Ken Block and his Ford Fiesta HFHV racing at NEFR, M-Sport (the entity in the UK that produces the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Block’s RX43 rallycross car, that supplied the chassis for Block’s HFHV, etc.) brought out two of their newest stage rally racecars to race the event as well: The Ford Fiesta R5 2LTR and the Ford Fiesta R2 1LTR.

The R5 2LTR is an all-new take on the already successful R5 program that M-Sport runs. The idea behind the car is to take an R5 (which itself is an all wheel-drive, 1.6 liter turbocharged rally car) and stuff it with a turbocharged 2.0 liter motor that allows it to fit within the regulations of most national championship open car classifications (such as Rally America, or the New Zealand national championship). The R2 1LTR builds upon the previous R2, but uses the turbocharged 1 liter, 3-cylinder motor from the base Ford Fiesta with a significant bump in power.

Both cars had hugely successful outings for their first time on US soil, with the R5 (piloted by Ramana Lagemann) racking up numerous top-five stage finishes and proving itself as a highly competitive option for drivers. Had the R5 not had to re-enter on Day 2 under Super Rally rules due to breaking a suspension component during the Day 1 stages, it would have easily challenged for a podium spot. The R2 (piloted by Brendan Reeves) had an even better showing, with a 1st overall finish in the 2wd category and a 6th overall finish for the entire event.

Both cars demonstrate great promise for the future of stage rally and offer a turnkey solution for racers that are looking for a competent and competitive setup. HRD’s Ken Block himself is also a huge fan of the all-new R5 2LTR car, having back-to-backed it prior to NEFR against his Ford Fiesta HFHV. To see how that turned out, check the video below.

Ken Block and M-Sport at New England Forest Rally 2015

Had a great time at Rally America’s New England Forest Rally this past weekend. Even though we didn’t get the result we were hoping for, 2nd place is great considering this was my first time back here since 2013! AND it was absolutely awesome to see M-Sport bring out both the Ford Fiesta R5 2ltr and the Ford Fiesta R2 1ltr - both of which really showed their potential at the hands of Ramana Lagemann and Brendan Reeves. Check out this quick recap video from the rally - see the sights and hear the sounds of three purpose-built stage rally beasts.

Posted by Ken Block on Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ken Block Finishes 2nd Overall At New England Forest Rally Despite Mechanical Issues

Sunday River, ME: Ken Block headed into the 2015 New England Forest Rally with the goal of defending his win from the last time he competed at the event in 2013. Unfortunately for Block, that wasn’t meant to be this past weekend due to a series of small engine issues that plagued him throughout the weekend. Despite the engine woes, Block still managed to pull off a very respectable 2nd overall finish, along with a few stage wins.

Day 1’s stages saw Block lose time to the top end of the field because of the aforementioned engine trouble. Fortunately, there were only three total Stages on Day 1, limiting Block’s deficit to 1st place at only 33 seconds overall.

Day 2 saw Block strike back with a Stage win on SS4. During SS6, Block had an off due to a mistake in his notes. From the off, the only functional damage to the car—oddly enough—was a broken throttle pedal and Block had to nurse the car to the end of the stage. Fortunately for Block, fellow competitor and friend, Brendan Reeves, was able to help him partially repair the throttle pedal with zip ties prior to the start of SS7. Block then successfully finished SS7 and went on to rack up a Stage win on SS8, despite having to race with the broken—and then zip tied repaired—throttle pedal.

“It’s definitely been a disappointing weekend for me,” said Block. “We came out here straight off a solid two days of testing and feeling really good. Unfortunately, we had some engine issues that robbed us of power and caused us to give up a lot of time on the Day 1 stages. We came back on Day 2 and thought we’d sorted everything out, but apparently we still had a gremlin or two and were still a bit down on power. Despite that, we pulled off two stage wins today, which was actually surprising and we’re happy with that! Things didn’t go as planned, but hey, that’s racing and I do appreciate coming away with 2nd place.”

Block’s next competitive event will be this coming weekend in Detroit for a Global Rallycross double-header.

Ken Block Benchmarks The New M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 Against His Hfhv

Ken Block’s Ford Fiesta HFHV is an incredible rally car that was built off of the M-Sport WRC Ford Fiesta and designed from the start to be the ultimate “Hybrid Function Hoon Vehicle.” That means it can do stage rally, it can do rallycross and it can also do Gymkhana. However, it’s a design that’s a few years old and a car that has a fair bit of stage miles on the chassis. Despite these factors though, it’s still one of the top Open Class cars in the Rally America series.
M-Sport’s all-new Ford Fiesta R5 2ltr is related to Block’s HFHV in the sense that both were originally derived from M-Sport’s WRC Ford Fiesta chassis. However, it’s been designed to fit within the Open Class racing regulations of most national championships (such as Rally America or the New Zealand national championship). The goal of the R5 2ltr is to offer a rally car that can compete at the top level of a national championship, as well as make that top level performance accessible to drivers with a product that’s turnkey, versus racers having to “home brew” their own solutions to the Open Class regulations. The car is also more affordable to race by the utilization of off-the-shelf factory parts for a reduced operating cost (for an example, the alternator on Block’s HFHV is a $5,000 USD part, and the alternator on the R5 2ltr is a mere $500 since it’s an off-the-shelf Ford part).
During his pre-Rally America New England Forest Rally testing, Block was able to take both his HFHV and the new R5 2ltr out on the stage roads of the Team O’Neil rally school in New Hampshire and benchmark them back to back. Curious to see the results? (they’re closer than you’d think) Check out the video of the test below.

Ken Block's custom Ford Fiesta HFHV vs M-Sport's Ford Fiesta R5...

Earlier this week my team and I did a timed performance comparison between my Ford Fiesta HFHV (my custom built and very developed rally/RX/gymkhana car I've been running since 2011) and M-Sport's new Ford Fiesta R5 2 liter: a turnkey top-level national stage rally car that's much cheaper to buy, run, and service, but still retains performance not far off of a modern WRC Fiesta. We wanted to see how fast it was compared to my older car - so we put both through their paces at the Team O'Neil Rally School. Check out this video to see how they compare!

Posted by Ken Block on Friday, July 17, 2015

Block And Gelsomino Ready And Aiming To Win Thier Third Stage Rally Of 2015

Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino testing Block’s HFHV rally car at Team O’Neil Rally School in New Hampshire
Ken Block takes Mr. Henry Ford III, aka the great great grandson of Henry Ford - the founder of Ford Motor Company on his first ever ride in a rally car. Henry came out to the Team O'Neil Rally School to get a closer look at what rally is all about. I was more than happy to show him from behind the wheel of my Ford Fiesta HFHV. His direct quote: "Honestly there are no words to describe what I just felt".
Ken Block puts the HFHV through its paces with Alex Gelsomino at Team O’Neil Rally School prior to NEFR 2015
Ken Block gave some rides to three big names from Ford Performance today at the Team O'Neil Rally School. From top to bottom: Henry Ford III, Dave Pericak (head of Ford Performance), and Mark Rushbrook (Ford motorsports engineer).
Ken Block takes a few runs in the Ford Fiesta R5 2 liter from M-Sport. Half the cost of a WRC car, and nearly as fun.

This weekend, HRD’s Ken Block heads into his third stage rally of the 2015 season, Rally America’s New England Forest Rally. NEFR is an event that KB last entered in 2013—which he also happened to win. He also enters the event coming off of a string of Global Rallycross rounds where he finds himself currently leading the championship in points with two overall wins, as well as an additional podium finish.

In addition to his rallycross successes this season, Block has participated in two stage rallies so far in 2015, both which were rounds of the New Zealand national championship: Rally Whangarei and Rally Otago. Block took the overall win at Whangarei, and was on pace to repeat that result in Otago prior to a mechanical failure with his car that killed that opportunity. However, he did manage to come back and win the second day of stages at Otago.

“I’m excited to be returning to NEFR this weekend,” said Block. “I’ve been having a great season so far and while I haven’t been doing as much stage rally as I’d like, I’ve had good results and I feel great in the car. We did two days of testing at Team O’Neil rally school this week alongside M-Sport and their new Ford Fiesta R5 2ltr rally car and between hopping in and out of both that car and my Ford Fiesta HFHV, I feel that my car is running perfectly. I’ve got my settings dialed and that I’m ready to get out on these forest stages here in Maine and go after another win.”

To see how Block does this weekend, make sure to follow along here, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Block And Gelsomino Off On Day 2 Of Lspr Chasing The 2013 Rally America Championship.

Following a relatively successful day 1 of the final round of the 2013 Rally America championship, the Lake Superior Performance Rally, Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino started the day sitting just over 13 seconds out of first place—the position they needed to be in to be able to win the overall championship.

Starting the day behind, Block was forced to turn it up and charge as hard as he could to close the gap to frontrunner David Higgins. After the morning stages, Block had managed to halve Higgins’ lead, taking over 6 seconds out of his lead. Unfortunately, after mid-day service, Block came through on SS12 after a spectator stage into a 5 minus corner, which then narrowed upon the exit. Going flat out due to not having any danger in the turn marked in his notes, Block went a little wide through the narrowing exit and dropped a rear wheel off. From there the car got caught up on a dirt lump that was hidden in the weeds alongside the road, which catapulted the car into the air, sending it into a multiple rotation roll and ending their championship bid.

“I’m gutted with how today ended,” said Block. “We were really charging hard today and were actively closing the gap on David [Higgins]. Unfortunately I didn’t have that corner marked in my notes as dangerous and I was going flat out. I got caught out, it sucks, it’s definitely not how I wanted to end the season, especially with the championship within reach. But, that’s how racing goes some days. Luckily both Alex and I are ok and hopefully we’ll be back to contest for the championship again next season.”

While Block’s 2013 Rally America season is over, he still finishes the season 2nd overall in the championship, marking his third 2nd overall in the Rally America series. He still has two competitive events left on his calendar. Catch him in Madrid, Spain, on November 2nd at the Monster Energy Gymkhana GRID European Gauntlet finale, then see him race in the final Global RallyCross event of the season in Las Vegas on November 8th.

Block And Gelsomino Battle For Ther First-Ever Rally America Championship At Lspr

Kicking off the final Rally America round of the 2013 season, the Lake Superior Performance Rally, Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino showed up to upper Michigan with their eyes on one prize: winning the rally in order to win the 2013 championship.

LSPR is a must-win event for Block and Gelsomino, who clawed their way back from a rough start at the beginning of the season to force a scenario where the only way they can win the championship is to dominate the final rally of the year.

After successful testing earlier in the week, the duo started Friday’s Day 1 stages feeling good and running fast. However, conditions were treacherous due to cold temperatures and consistent rain. Through the first six stages of the day, Block and Gelsomino won five of six stages and headed into the remaining three night stages with an 8.6 second lead over their competition for the 2013 championship, David Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew. Coming in for the end of the night however, the tally was Block having won six stages to Higgins’ three. However, Block found himself sitting 13 seconds out of first place with Day 2 ahead of him on Saturday.

“This rally has been tough so far,” said Block. “It’s clear that both myself and David [Higgins] are driving as hard as we possibly can. Unfortunately for me and fortunately for him, I ran into some heavy fog on the night stages today, which caused me to lose some confidence and give up some time. However, I’m confident that we’ll be able to make that up and then some tomorrow during Day 2.”

To see if the HRD pair can make up lost time and build a lead to win the rally and thusly win the championship, be sure to follow along here, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.