American rallying sensation Ken Block took victory on his return to the rallying scene in New Zealand last weekend.
The 47 year old won the Rally of Whangarei by over two minutes in his Ford Fiesta Hybrid Function Hoon Vehicle with Italian co-driver, Alessandro Gelsomino in the passenger seat.
The American took the lead on day one but had to contend with some mechanical issues that befell his Fiesta HFHV.
Although it was a comfortable victory in the end, at one point his lead had been reduced down to 0.6 seconds.
“I had an absolute blast on these ridiculously fun New Zealand roads,” said Block. “They are just made for rallying. And I’ve been told that my co-driver Alex Gelsomino and I are the first-ever non-New Zealanders to win this rally, which is really cool to me.
“Big thanks to all the organisers and marshals for putting together a really fun and well-run rally. It’s the first race and the first win – a fantastic start to another epic season!”
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery added: “Ken is a great guy and a fantastic ambassador not just for ourselves but for the whole of motorsport. Congratulations to him for winning an amazing rally through such fantastic scenery – and for becoming the first non-New Zealander ever to do so.”
Block has been focusing on rallycross in recent times and the New Zealand based event marked his first full rally outing since the Rally RACC Catalunya last October.