Ken Block has broken Travis Pastrana’s stranglehold of stage wins on the Ojibwe Forests Rally on Saturday morning but Pastrana still leads by just under a minute, poised to claim the 2021 American Rally Association presented by DirtFish National title.
Pastrana headed into the second day of competition in Minnesota with over a minute in hand, having won all eight of Friday’s stages in his Subaru Motorsports USA WRX STI.
But Block bucked the trend on both Height O’Land and Otterkill, cutting 12.7s out of his deficit to the leader only to then lose 8.5s on Anchor Mattson NB.
However with 59.8s to make up to catch Pastrana, only a problem is likely to prevent the championship leader from winning his fourth rally in six starts.
And should Pastrana win the Ojibwe Forests Rally for a sixth time, he will win his sixth ever US rallying title and first since 2017 – which he also claimed at Ojibwe.
Ryan Booth remains third and set to round out the podium in the McKenna Motorsport Škoda Fabia R5+, but was beaten by Tom Williams’ Ford Fiesta Rally2 (embed video around here?) on two of the tests.
Williams is fourth on his first visit to the US for competition, albeit 2m36.8s down on Booth.
John Coyne had been fifth heading into Saturday’s first loop of three stages, but the Fiesta Rally2 pilot has lost the spot to Enda McCormack’s Hyundai. McCormack heads Coyne by 27.1s; nudging ahead by 0.8s on the day’s first stage and building on it from there.
This all-RC2 battle is some three minutes up the road from the epic battle between Ele Bardha and Mark Piatkowski which has continued into Saturday.
Bardha began the day 1.8s up on Piatkowski, and incredibly after three stages and over 25 miles of rallying Piatkowski is now just a single second behind; making up 0.8s across the loop.
The pair are now both ahead of Seamus Burke overall though. Burke leads the two-wheel-drive class in his Ford Escort Mk2 but has slipped from seventh to ninth.
Bucky Lasek has also kept up his strong pace, rounding out the top 10 with four stages – including two superspecials – left to run after service.
Overall Classification after SS11:
1 Pastrana/Gelsomino (Subaru) 01:28:21.8s
2 Block/Gelsomino (Subaru) +59.8s
3 Booth/Hayes (Škoda) +5:58.1s
4 Williams/McKillop (Ford) +8:34.9s
5 McCormack/McCormack (Hyundai) +13:24.1s
6 Coyne/Dobbs (Ford) +13:51.2s
7 Bardha/Roshea (Subaru) +17:25.1s
8 Piatkowski/Barbera (Subaru) +17:26.1s
9 Burke/Brady (Ford) +17:38.4s
10 Lasek/Dorman (Subaru) +18:56.7s