Ken Block and the Monster World Rally Team took their first win in North America a week before they make their WRC debut in Mexico.
The American, driving a Ford Fiesta won the 100 Acre Wood Rally by just 21 seconds from Canadian Antoine l'Estage. The win, while the first for the Fiesta in North America marked Block's fifth consecutive win the two-day Missouri based event.
The American had started the second day in third place, over a minute behind the leader, but rallied (no pun intended) to win three of the ten stages and take the win.
“I can't tell you how difficult and challenging this weekend has been,” says Block. “This is the location of my first national rally win, so I have now won this rally five years in a row and it is a pretty good feeling to get the Fiesta home in first. The Fiesta is a big change from the car I was racing before, but I am finally starting to come to grips with how to drive it and how to go as fast as I can. It is very fun to drive and I am really enjoying the Fiesta.”
The victory is the second in the Fiesta's relatively short career to date with WRC driver Mikko Hirvonen having taken an M-Sport prepared example to glory in the Monte Carlo Rally. However, Blocks car was prepared by the Swedish Olsbergs squad, based on the very successful European Rallycross car, fitted with a turbo restrictor to comply to Rally America rules producing 330bhp.
Olsbergs were also the team behind the pair of Fiestas that attempted to break the ten minute barrier at last year's Pikes Peak hillclimb and later won the X-Games event.
“The Ford Fiesta is proving to be an incredibly competitive platform for rallying,” said Gerard Quinn, Ford of Europe’s Motorsport Manager. “Within the last six months Fiesta has won X Games gold in North America, our UK-based rally partner, M-Sport, took a Fiesta S2000 to victory on the 2010 Monte Carlo Rally and now Ken Block’s car has claimed its first stage rally win in the United States. What an incredible start for Fiesta!”
Block is set to make his WRC bow at this weekend's Rally Mexico running in Ford Focus RS WRC.