Kicking off Day 1 of Rally America’s Oregon Trail Rally with plenty of excitement, Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino hit Friday’s opening stages feeling good. The duo, having had a successful test earlier in the week, were prepared for their fourth stage rally of 2013 and had a strong start to the rally on Friday evening, getting second fastest on one stage and winning the next.

However, while entering a chicane on stage 3, the right front wheel of Block’s Ford Fiesta HFHV detached. This sudden departure of the wheel from the car caused Block to really have to work to get the car to the end of the stage. With one stage left, the pair faced the choice of a DNF for the day, or pressing on regardless sans-wheel. The choice was obvious. Block came across the end of SS4 with only three wheels and a shower of sparks. Despite the hardship, Block and Gelsomino ended day one sitting fourth overall, only 48 seconds out of first place with plenty of mileage to attempt to make up that time on Saturday and Sunday.

“Tonight was a bummer, that’s for sure,” said Block. “I was entering a chicane on stage three, when all of a sudden I feel something in the front right corner of the car. Then I realized that somehow the wheel had come loose and just bounced off! Fortunately we didn’t lose too much time in the grand scheme of things. Alex and I will attempt to make up the lost time on the stages tomorrow and get on the podium. I just can’t believe the crazy luck I’ve been having this year in the Rally America Championship.”

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