WRC

Rally Portugal: Ken Block event summary

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Rally Portugal: Block and Gelsomino out after roll. The Monster World Rally Team's third WRC event of the year started strong at the Algarve Stadium in Portugal, where Ken Block faced off against former Formula One World Champion Kimi...

Rally Portugal: Block and Gelsomino out after roll.

The Monster World Rally Team's third WRC event of the year started strong at the Algarve Stadium in Portugal, where Ken Block faced off against former Formula One World Champion Kimi Raikkonen at the opening Super Special. The result was an astounding tie. The next day the team strategy was to take a conservative approach because of the difficulty level of the stages found here at Rally Portugal. All was going according to plan until the last stage of the morning.

Thirteen kilometers into Stage 4, a pace note error left Block and Gelsomino out on their side after taking what was initially thought to be a soft roll into an open field. But the Monster World Rally Team's want to return under SuperRally rules was crushed when the Ford Focus RS WRC returned to the service park after the day's stages and it was discovered during scrutineering that there was minor structural damage to the roll cage, forcing the team to retire from Rally Portugal.

"I've said it before, but this mistake only emphasizes that our biggest challenge in getting up to speed with the other drivers in the WRC this year is properly writing our own notes," says Block. "It was clear during recce that this rally was going to be extremely tough. These roads are some of the most difficult stages I have ever driven."

"We knew 2010 would be a development year for us, but when we first started out before Rally Mexico, the question still remained as to what areas we needed to focus on most," says Team Manager Derek Dauncey. "Ken proved in both Mexico and Turkey that he has the speed, but it had become apparent that Ken and Alex need to work more on notes. Coming from the Jemba system in the United States, the two are at a distinct disadvantage in the world of two-pass recce."

Earlier in the week, the Monster World Rally Team tested for Rally Portugal with help from former Ford WRC Factory driver Markko Martin. One thing that came out of this test was Block's need for improvement in formulating the pace notes with Gelsomino. Moving forward, Martin will continue to work with the team to help them improve in this area, while also preparing Block and Gelsomino for Rally Germany -- the team's first WRC race on tarmac. The Rally America series does not have sealed surface stages, making this another new challenge for Block and Gelsomino.

"The hardest part for me is at this point in my career I need as many miles in the car as I can get, so missing the rest of the stages is just devastating," says Block.

-source: ken block

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