This past weekend, Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block brought himself back into stage rally for the first time in 3 years with co-driver Alex Gelsomino. After multiple seasons dedicated to rallycross, Block chose to spread his abilities out a bit more for 2018 and that meant getting back to his original passion: stage rally. For his domestic events in 2018, Block decided to purchase and run a 1991 Ford Escort Cosworth WRC Group A car, a vehicle most would describe as “historic.” Known best for having “that wing,” the Cossie is one of Block’s favorite classic Ford gravel machines and he put it to good use, placing it third overall in the weekend’s Oregon Trail Rally and second overall in the Open Class.
“This first race in my Ford Escort Cossie was a lot of fun,” said Block. “It was a new challenge for me to push an older car like this to the limit on these roads, and while the car definitely has some quirks, it made for a hell of a fun weekend of racing. In fact, despite what feels like minuscule suspension travel, I still managed to send it the third farthest over the big jump in this race. 102 feet through the air in a car that's 27 years old! Plus, I managed to place it on the overall podium in third. Not bad for a car that's officially historic!”
The podium finish helps get Block’s varied 2018 schedule off to a great start and proved that despite some time away from stage rally and a car that was significantly older than the majority of the field (and about 1.5 to 2 seconds per mile slower than a modern top-level car), Block still has what it takes to be competitive out in the gravel.
But, it wasn’t all smooth sailing, Block and Gelsomino had several issues through the event due to the age of the car. An oil cap disappeared and was repaired with duct tape, some of their wheels didn’t fit properly for three stages and they also managed to break the front suspension with 1.5 stages left in the event. In spite of all this however, they still came away with a podium finish.
Block will next run his 1991 Ford Escort Cosworth at the New England Forest Rally in July.