SALEM, Missouri (Feb. 24) -- Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ken Block celebrated the one-year anniversary of his first career win with victory this weekend at the Rally of the 100 Acre Wood. "Apparently I really like this place," said Block at the...
SALEM, Missouri (Feb. 24) -- Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ken Block celebrated the one-year anniversary of his first career win with victory this weekend at the Rally of the 100 Acre Wood.
"Apparently I really like this place," said Block at the finish. "And now I know the speed I can carry against these other guys and that feels good too."
Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino led the Missouri race from the start, taking many decisive stage wins over the course of the two-day contest. And as Block continued to pull away from the field, the battle to watch was for second place. By midday Saturday, three top teams were within 25 seconds of each other and jostling for position.
Block's Subaru Rally Team USA teammates Travis Pastrana and co-driver Christian Edstrom, who had started Day 2 in fourth, moved into second place early in the day and held strong until the finish.
"It's a great start for the season for Vermont Sportscar and Subaru," said Pastrana, who took the win at the first round last month. "This is exactly where we wanted to be."
Andrew "ACP" Comrie-Picard and co-driver Marc Goldfarb drove a clean race for third-place, holding off a capable challenge by Lauchlin O'Sullivan and co-driver Scott Putnam.
"The competition in America is awesome right now," said Comrie-Picard who took his first win of the season in Canada at the start of the month. "At the most competitive event I've ever seen, every podium is a victory."
Teams are vying for a chance to complete at the high-profile X Games 13 this summer in Los Angeles. It is expected that the top six teams after the first five championship rounds will receive an invitation to compete at the California contest.
Defending North American champion Matt Iorio and up-and-coming Open class driver Tanner Foust both found themselves off the pace. Foust finished in fifth place, while Iorio wound up sixth.
Stephan Verdier and co-driver Scott Crouch took the win in the hotly contested Production GT contest, while Group N went to the team of Otis Dimiters and Alan Ockwell.
In two-wheel drive, the Group 2 class win went to driver Michel Hoche-Mong and co-driver Sameer Parekh, while Cary Kendall and co-driver Scott Friberg won Group 5. The Production class win went to the father-daughter team of Jim and Marianne Stevens.
Ex-factory Subaru driver Ramana Lagemann found himself out of the race early Saturday due to an apparent mechanical problem. Australian Andrew Pinker was also forced out of the contest with engine trouble in his Open class Subaru and veteran driver Paul Choiniere retired early in the contest with his own mechanical problems.
Defending Production GT champion Matt Johnson crashed hard Saturday afternoon. Although he and co-driver Jeremy Wimpey suffered only minor injuries, is unlikely his Subaru will see competition again.
The race, through the scenic Ozark foothills of southern Missouri, began under sunny and mild skies on Friday, but the weather changed on Day 2. Rain that moved in to the area early in the day grew to gusty downpours that showed no sign of letting up. Drivers said each corner presented a different traction challenge.