Block takes 100 Acre Wood rally win
- 25th February 2008, 3:44pm
Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ken Block earned a dominant victory at the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, his third consecutive win at the fast and flowing central Missouri event, held over the past weekend.
Block’s Subaru Rally Team USA teammate Travis Pastrana and new co-driver Derek Ringer finished second, while two-time Rally America PGT class champion Matthew Johnson finished third to earn his first podium finish in an Open class car.
Unseasonably cold weather at the second round of the Rally America National Championship turned what is typically a gravel event into an ice and snow rally, and Block rose to the challenge.
“Once we figured out how much grip we had, it was just a matter of figuring out how to go fast on that grip,” said Block, who assumed the Rally America National Championship points lead with his performance at 100 Acre Wood. “It was fairly consistent through the stages, so I just went flat out on the first day to get a lead and basically maintained the lead on the second day.”
Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino blazed through the early stages of the rally on the first day of the two-day event, building a 30-second advantage over Pastrana and Ringer.
“The conditions were icy but really good,” said Pastrana. “Ken is just amazing at this rally. He set some amazing times on the first two stages, and we were never able to catch up. He was faster than we were for the whole event.”
Canadian Andrew Comrie-Picard and co-driver Marc Goldfarb, who finished second in the Rally America season opener last month, limped to the finish with heavy damage to their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.
After cracking their front end hard on Day 1, the duo spent Day 2 battling a failing transmission. They crashed again late in the day, but were able to hold on to a fourth-place finish – just six seconds ahead of 18-year-old American Kyle Sarasin and co-driver Mikael Johansson in their Open class Subaru.
The demanding, high-speed Rally in the 100 Acre Wood was tough for many top teams.
Antoine L’Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard, the Rally America national points leaders entering the second round, failed to finish while battling for the lead early in the contest.
The Rockstar Energy Drink Rally Team duo of Tanner Foust and co-driver Chrissie Beavis were in third place when mechanical trouble knocked them out on Day 2, while their teammates Andrew Pinker and co-driver Robbie Durant crashed on the penultimate stage and failed to finish.
Stephan Verdier and co-driver Scott Crouch took the PGT class win, finishing seventh overall. In the two-wheel drive competition, Chris Duplessis and co-driver Martin Headland earned the victory in their Group 5 Volkswagen GTi.
The nine-event 2008 Rally America National Championship Series season continues with the Olympus Rally from April 19-20 in Olympia, Washington.
OVERALL RESULTS: RALLY IN THE 100 ACRE WOOD
1. Ken Block
2. Travis Pastrana
3. Matthew Johnson
4. Andrew Comrie-Picard
5. Kyle Sarasin
6. Piotr Wiktorczyk
7. Stephan Verdier
8. Will Corry
9. Travis Hanson
10. Pat Moro
RALLY AMERICA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS – OVERALL
1. Ken Block, 32
2. Andrew Comrie-Picard, 29
3. Matthew Johnson, 26
4. Kyle Sarasin, 24
5. Antoine L’Estage, 23
6. Travis Pastrana, 18
7. Will Corry, 9
7. Tanner Foust, 9
9. Travis Hanson, 8
9. Stephan Verdier, 8
9. Pat Moro, 8
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