Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino made the long haul down to Australia to participate for the Monster World Rally Team in Rally Australia, the 10th stop of the 2011 WRC calendar.
After a rally of ups and downs, Block ended the event in impressive fashion by claiming fifth fastest time on the final stage of the rally, the televised Power Stage.
Building on an improved Day 2, Ken ran consistently in the top-10 stage times as he regained confidence in his pace notes after a note error on Day 1 sent his Ford Fiesta RS WRC into the trees. By Day 3, Block was in maximum attack mode, making big improvements in his stage times.
“I felt good today,” said Block. “After running conservatively on Saturday, I was more confident in my notes today and think that showed in some of the times we put down. I had a few stages where I was sixth fastest and was able to snag fifth fastest time on the Power Stage, which was awesome. I’m really stoked about that!”
On SS23, Block was the sixth fastest, being only 1.5sec behind stage winner, Sebastian Loeb. SS25, the longest of the day at 19 miles, was another one where Block’s pace led him to a sixth fastest. However, Block’s most impressive score of the day came at the end of the rally during the televised Power Stage. Running first on course, Block and Gelsomino ripped through the stage, breaking the fastest time set by Loeb earlier in the morning, securing fifth fastest and running just 1.7sec off Mikko Hirvonen’s time, who would go on to win the rally overall.
“I’ve had a great weekend in Australia,” said Block. “The fans are some of the most enthusiastic I’ve seen and the roads are amazing. If I could just forget about Friday, the race would have been perfect. It really sucks that one wrong pace note can ruin the whole weekend, but that’s rally. Either way, I still had a good race and I’m stoked at how much I improved on Day 3 compared to the first two days.”
Block’s next competitive event is the upcoming is Rally de France Alsace, September 29-October 2, where he’ll be trading the gravel of Australia for tarmac.