The 52-year-old YouTube star, rally and rallycross legend Ken Block from the United States of America became the first-ever race winner of the world’s first all-electric rallycross series Projekt E as he dominated the final at the series debut in Höljes, Sweden.
With only three drivers entered for the first round of the Projekt E series, it was an easy task for Block to be on the top step of the podium but he had a challenging weekend mastering the new Ford Fiesta ERX car.
Block took the top qualifier spot on Saturday, despite having two costly moments in the first two qualifying races.
A spin caused by the double Austrian rally champion Hermann Neubauer at the opening lap of the first session saw Neubauer receive a 30-second penalty which promoted Block to first place.
The second spin happened on the second qualifying where Block hit the armco on the fast downhill left-hander, he spun out on to the grass but was quickly able to get back on track.
Sunday started with two more qualifying sessions, where Block took an easy early lead over Neubauer but was under constant pressure from him on the opening laps. Former British and World Rally Championship driver Natalie Barratt was forced to retire from the race with technical issues.
In the fourth and final qualifying of the weekend, it was once again a fight between Block and Neubauer off the start, Barratt jumped the start so she had to take two jokerlaps. When Block decided to do his joker lap on the final lap Neubauer managed to pass Block but as they went over the long left-hander in the velodrome Neubauer’s car suddenly stopped so Block could make a pass to claim the top qualifier spot before the final.
In the final it was same story between Block and Neubauer on the way in to turn one, Block managed to come out in front but was under constant pressure, until smoke started to pour out of Neubauer’s car which gave Block a massive lead over Barratt who manage to pass Neubauer.
Block crossed the line in first place and wrote rallycross history to become the first-ever winner in an all-electric rallycross car on international level. Barratt took the well deserved second place after her up and down of a weekend and Neubauer ended up in third.
Next time the Projekt E joins the World RX will be at the Bikernieki Trase in Riga, where they will be hosting round two of the season on 18/19 September, it was also there last year where it all started with the introduction of the Projekt E and the first public demonstration.