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RANC: Ken 'Blocks' the opposition
26 February 2012
After a resounding victory on round one of the Rally America Championship, the Sno-Drift Rally, defending Rally America champion David Higgins did not have it all his own way on round two.
Ken Block debuted his Monster World Rally Team HFHV Fiesta with immediate success. With Co-driver Alex Gelsomino, the pair even 'beat the bogey' on one stage by bettering the average speed appointed by the organisers.
Even with two spins, Block/Gelsomino led the pairing of Higgins/Drew in the Subaru America car by 18secs at the end of day one, with Polish champions Holowczyc/Wislawski trailing in third. Canadian championa Antoine l'Estage/Nathalie Richard retired in SS4 with transmission woes after fighting Higgins/Drew for second.
Not having a great day was the crowds favourite 'Crazy' Leo Urlichich/Carl Williamson in the affectionately-named 'Beast'. After sustaining a puncture in the very first mile of the first stage, they elected to run on without changing the tyre and dropped time in the stage, leaving them a lowly 18th overall. The talk of the service area though was the attacking style of 'Crazy Leo' even with a puncture and, much to the pleasure of his army of fans, the pair attacked from the next stage to climb back to fourth overall at the end of day one.
Day two saw Block continue his form until SS8, when he sustained two punctures, allowing Higgins to forge ahead by 30secs. Block soon fought back and, by the time crews filed into the service halt, was leading Higgins by 0.1 of a second!
Urlichich had suffered another early puncture on SS8 but, this time, also broke a track rod end in the process. Makeshift repairs were made on the road section but they too failed half a mile from the end of the next stage. This happened at high speed and the 'Beast' careered into the trees, eventually coming to a head-on disagreement with one of 100 Acre Woods' finest.
The position then stood as Block, Higgins and Holowczyc at service and that is how it stood until the final control of the rally. Block eventually won by 29.3secs from Higgins, eking out another tremendous lead over the final stages. Third-placed Holowczyc was a whopping 9min 10secs off the leader.
Block was reportedly 'stoked' about winning the 100 Acre Wood Rally for the sixth time and beating Higgins in the process.
The next round of the Rally America Championship takes crews to Oregon on 4-6 May, although Block won't be competing again until the Olympus Rally in September, as he concentrates on his entry into the upcoming WRC round in Mexico.
by Carl Williamson
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