It’s the freight reservation Florent Peronnet never expected to make – the one carrying a Hyundai i20 Rally2 east across the Atlantic with the American Rally Association season only one round old.
This was the car Ken Block was going to be driving in his efforts to finally land the American national title he’d come so close to in 2022.
2C Compétition team manager Peronnet admitted the simple task of booking the freight out of America was an emotional one.
“What happened with Ken was unbelievable,” he told DirtFish. “As a team, we loved to work with him and Alex [Gelsomino, co-driver] and Derek [Dauncey, Hoonigan team manager]. We loved being out here in the US – the championship and the people are just amazing.
“The plan had been to test the car before Sno*Drift and then run this event. Of course, we were planning for the whole [ARA] championship and, from what I saw last year with [Block], we would have been in the fight for the title.
“Everything changed last month and we were really sad to look for a new way forwards. For us, like for many people, Ken and his whole family were really close – we were friends. We loved to spend the time with him and them all.
“I don’t want people to make a mistake here: Ken was our number one. He meant so much, we even made a show car from last year in Ken’s livery to keep for ourselves. We were so proud of our time together. It’s incredibly sad that things changed.”
I don’t want people to make a mistake here: Ken was our number oneFlorent Peronnet
Peronnet wants 2C to remain a force in the Green APU ARA series, but, for now, he’s having to bring the car back to Europe.
“We looked a lot to find a different driver for the car,” he said. “Everything was ready with the team and with the car, but it just wasn’t possible to make a deal with anybody. I really hope the book is not closed with America for us; I’m sure it’s not. I will work to find a new solution.
“Of course, it could never be the same without Ken, but I still believe in this championship.”