Friday | 20 Mar 2020

Block: "I came here to race and I want to race"

Ken Block’s return to the FIA World Rally Championship didn’t quite go to plan in Mexico last week – but that hasn’t dimmed his enthusiasm for another outing later this year.

The American drove his Ford Escort RS Cosworth at Rally Guanajuato Mexico, his first WRC attendance since Spain in 2018.

Block drew huge attention, especially at the brace of Guanajuato street stages on Thursday night, but his event started to go downhill as he prepared to go underground and into the tunnels on the legendary fan-pleasing city tests.

The Escort developed a misfire on the way to the stages and he was forced to drive both in ‘safe’ mode with little power.

“It’s been very frustrating,” said Block. “We’ve done lots of testing to come here to Mexico prepared for the altitude. This is typical rally, it pummels you to the ground. We’ve had nothing but problems all week. From the test on Monday to the super specials where we had the misfire.”

Rally Guanajuato Mexico Heli Special

His team fixed the misfire but there was nothing they could do to stop the engine overheating in Friday morning’s El Chocolate opener, the first gravel stage of the event, and Block retired from the rally.

“This is actually the second engine (we’ve lost). This one’s the spare in the car now after the original one ingested some dust on the test,” he said.

There was, however, something Block could do about the warning signals.

“I ignored them,” he said. “I drove until it virtually stopped. I probably could have saved myself some money by stopping early, but it is what it is: I came here to race and I want to race.

“Seventeenth overall on the splits against these World Rally Cars and R5 cars is not bad for this old car being pushed out on the stages.”

Block is scheduled to drive a Ford Fiesta R5 at Rally New Zealand in September. “I’m looking forward to that,” he said. “Those roads are just beautiful. I love the place, the culture and the people.”