Ken Block made the best possible start to his Ford career – taking Monster World Rally Team’s debut stage win at the first time of asking – but broken suspension on his Ford Fiesta ruined his rally, forcing him into retirement.

Block was competing on the Sno*Drift Rally, the first round of the Rally America championship. All the drivers had been complaining of extremely slippery conditions due to large amounts of ice on the stages, which didn’t help.

“Everything started great,” said Block. “I won the first stage, which was unexpected with this being my first time really racing the Fiesta. The conditions were really bad, possibly the iciest roads I have ever raced, so my plan was to drive on the conservative side, which I was doing. Then the suspension went after taking a few minor impacts and I was out, just like that.”

After 12 stages Subaru driver Travis Pastrana leads the overall standings despite nursing a recent collarbone fracture and also apparently not even know how quickly he is going.

“It’s just a sheet of ice out there,” said Pastrana. “I’m getting so much wheelspin, that when the speedometer is showing 100mph I’m sure we’re barely doing 50!”

Nobody knew the conditions were so treacherous even by the start of the first stage – the first two cars to start the event crashed out of the first stage.

Pastrana looks to have the win secured, currently holding a lead of over a minute against Antoine L’Estage in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X.