This year’s New England Forest Rally came to an abrupt end for Hoonigan Racing Division's Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino when a mechanical issue lead to a roll and ignited a fire that engulfed the 25 year old, Ford Escort RS Cossie Group A/WRC car. The duo escaped the wreck unharmed but despite their efforts to extinguish the fire, the car was destroyed. RIP, Cossie.
“Alex and I got out safely, but the car thoroughly burned right there on the stage. Luckily the in-car action was caught on my helmet mounted GoPro,” said Block.
The team was running in 3rd overall (despite a gear box problem that would ultimately ruin their weekend), and pressing on to finish Stage 4 when they turned into a tighter left corner and downshifted. The shift came late (because mechanical issue), and when it finally did, it threw the car farther to the inside of the corner and into a big rock that sent it rolling over twice. They landed on the wheels, and were ready to get going again (because shiny side up!) buuuut as you can see in the video, a fire started REALLY quick.
“Watch the helmet cam GoPro video and you can see the engine oddly redline right before I hit the rock. I was expecting the racecar to run wider, but when the gearbox finally downshifted, it didn’t engage. We aren’t sure if it was just an engagement issue or if something broke. Either way, it meant I had no drive and the car ended up on the inside of the corner instead of the middle. Such a bummer. These photos suck, and it was torturous to watch the car burn (it took a while), but that’s racing. Thanks to all the volunteers, other competitors that helped, and the fire and safety crews for helping us with that crappy situation.”
The ups and downs of racing are real. Of his 3 races so far this year, Block has made 2 podiums and a lost an entire car to fire. Gutted to have had the Cossie burn up like that, he’s already got plans to build a new one.