Entering New England Forest Rally for the fifth round of the 2013 Rally America Championship, Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block headed into the rally ready to race, coming straight off a second place finish at a Global RallyCross event the weekend prior.
Putting themselves into an assertive lead over the first four stages on Friday’s Day One stages, Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino entered Saturday’s Day Two racing with one singular goal: keep up the quick pace and continue to expand upon their lead over the rest of the field.
The HRD rose to the challenge, despite sacrificing a few seconds on the first two stages of the day. However, on SS8, which is a highly technical and rough 16 mile stage, Block added nearly 30 seconds on second place on just that stage. However, on SS11 Block and Gelsomino suffered an alternator pulley failure a third of the way through the stage, causing them to lose their in-car intercom system. The loss of this system meant that Block had to drive the final 13 miles of the stage without any stage notes being audibly called by Gelsomino—a situation that could potentially have been disastrous. However, despite the handicap, Block managed to maintain a solidly quick pace and finish the stage with his lead on second place intact. Unfortunately, it had gone from over 40 seconds to just 10.4 seconds. Post-stage, Block’s Fiesta HFHV lost all power due to the alternator being incapacitated. Fortunately, fellow competitor Rifat Sungkar came to the rescue and towed Block and his Fiesta 23 miles back to service, where the crew then pushed the car through time control and into the paddock to be repaired. After service, with just 8 stage miles of racing left to go, Block and Gelsomino had to battle to maintain their lead and take top place upon the podium, which they did. The pair won overall by a mere 6.5 seconds.
“This rally has been absolutely wild today,” said Block. “We came in feeling good and ready to build upon our lead from yesterday, which we did. But, it wasn’t easy. This rally is one of the more challenging on the season calendar and it was a real test of my skills and patience to come out on top. Then, when our alternator had problems early in the stage and I had to basically drive 13 miles with no pace notes?! Totally insane. I’m stoked that I was able to stay on it as much as I did to protect our lead.”
With the win at New England Forest Rally, Block’s chances for winning the overall 2013 Rally America Championship stay mathematically alive with just two events left on the calendar. In the meantime, however, Block heads to Los Angeles to compete in X Games Gymkhana GRID and X Games Global RallyCross on August 3rd and 4th, respectively. To see how he does as he continues his non-stop racing summer, be sure to follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.