For the majority of the year Ken Block has been the man to beat in Red Bull Global Rallycross. In the championship fight since day one, Block now heads to Las Vegas without of a chance of claiming his maiden Red Bull GRC crown after two tough double header weekends in Los Angeles and Barbados.
Just like Nelson Piquet Jr. in 2014, the championship leader’s season began to unravel in LA. Despite last year’s happenings, it wasn’t something that played on Block’s mind this year when he headed to California.
“I didn’t really [think about it],” he said, “we could and should’ve come away with some good points there and it just wasn’t meant to be.”
In LA Block missed the final on the first day before sustaining damage that put him a lap down in the second day final. In Barbados, he rolled out of the first final and failed to finish the second, mathematically eliminating him from title contention despite leading the charge for much of the season.
The roles have well and truly been reversed in the points table now with the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross pairing in first and second after enduring a difficult start to the year.
“I appreciated the good luck when it it was there but when it went bad it went really bad which really sucked,” said Block. “In LA on the second day I got in the final and got up to second place in the first lap and then the propshaft broke, there’s nothing I can do about it. I was pretty gutted when all that happened.”
Despite missing out on the championship, Block remained proud of what he and his team has achieved in what has been his most successful Red Bull GRC season to date
“Unfortunately I’m the one that got bit this year but there’s literally nothing I could do about it, my team and I have done the best job we can,” he added. “We had a great year, won three, on the podium at a total of five, leading the championship for the majority of the year and unfortunately it came apart at the end.”
Block’s near-triumphant title tilt in Red Bull Global Rallycross championship has seen him take something of a step back from rallying this season. Despite being the discipline that made him the big name he is today, the 13 race Red Bull GRC campaign has taken up most of the American’s attention, although he does hope to make a return to the stages soon.
“I’d love to do stage rally but I can only fit so much in during the year,” he said. “The rallycross is the main championship that I chase and when I can fit in some stage rally around there I can. I don’t have the time for a full championship anywhere but this year I was able to do two rallies down in New Zealand and one in the States and I’m very happy to have done that, I wish I could do more but I did the most that I could.”
One thing that Block has managed to fit in alongside his GRC commitments is Gymkhana GRiD, which held it’s season finale at Santa Pod Raceway in the UK last weekend.
Tracing it’s roots back to his immensely popular Gymkhana YouTube videos, Block has grown the grassroots sport into a major international event
“What we’re doing here this weekend is actually taking that grassroots competition and making it a bit more entertaining for the English fans that come out and watch,” Block said. “It’s cool to see the popularity of the videos but it’s also cool to come out and do these events and have actual competition for people, race head-to-head and even a great set of fans who come out to see it all.”
As for the videos, Block is remaining tight lipped on what’s next, although he has promised that another is on it’s way.
“There will be another one, as long as the fans and other people continue to watch these videos my sponsors will continue to fund them because they’re not cheap to make,” he revealed. “There will be a Gymkhana eight, there will even be most likely a Gymkhana nine, but I can’t give you a date or location or anything, we like to keep that stuff a secret”
“I think we’ve got a good one for Gymkhana eight and I look forward to filming that soon and I hope everybody will like it as much as they’ve liked the last ones.”