Block, the star of the Gymkhana online movies, was on course for a top 10 finish on his debut on the high-speed gravel contest when a landing left the Ford Fiesta RS WRC he shares with co-driver Alex Gelsomino with a broken control arm bracket and a loss of steering.
After a wild slide, Block pulled off the road and retired barely four kilometres into the 21.94-kilometre Leustu test.
Wilson, whose M-Sport organisation runs the factory Ford team in the FIA World Rally Championship and builds Block’s Fiesta, said: “It’s a shame because he was having a really good rally and his times were really encouraging.”
Block had fought his way into the top 10 with a strong showing on Friday’s stages on only his third appearance in this year’s WRC.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” said Block. “I was having a really great rally up until stage 14. I’d stayed consistent and clean through days one and two and we’d managed to work ourselves up seven positions yesterday from 17th to 10th overall. To have been in a points-scoring position here in Finland my first time ever is an incredible feeling, I was definitely exceeding my personal expectations for my performance at the event. It’s a shame that I got knocked out by a mechanical failure especially before I got to take a run on Ouninpohja. Hopefully I’ll be able to come back in the future and race Rally Finland again.”
Derek Dauncey, the manager of Block’s Monster World Rally Team, added: “I’m extremely proud of how Ken drove here in Finland. It’s such a tough event, even for the top drivers who have done the event for years and years. For him to come out and put down pace that was quick enough to work himself into the top 10 while still keeping the car clean and on the road really shows just how much natural talent he has behind the wheel. I’m confident that if he hadn’t suffered the mechanical failure, he would have maintained his position and scored points here.”