Ken Block’s rally history is massive. 138 starts, 18 years, in 15 types of cars, and about a dozen different organizing bodies dot the history of Block’s rally history alone, not to mention Gymkhana Grid, rallycross, and other forms of racing.
Out of that massive history in motorsport though, Block reckons that he gave the most amount of effort that he’s ever put in to an event on last weekend’s Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally in order to ensure he walked away with a win.
And it was a vitally important one as American Rally Association presented by DirtFish National championship rival Brandon Semenuk crashed out early on. Before that, the pair had been split by just half a second.
“This event was actually more work than I’ve ever put into any event ever before,” Block told DirtFish. “We knew the battle was going to be won or lost right here before the last round.
“Alex [Gelsomino] and I put in a ton of work to make it so that we had a chance to have this win. The team, everybody just put in 100% work so we could be sitting here with the win today.
“Everything from recce, to video recce, to reviewing the stages even after we run the stages, you know, because the powerstage, both parts of it had been run previously and it was a combination of two previously run stages.
“It’s all that sort of stuff that we that we put in to make sure that we had the best possible notes going into this.”
More than just the team in the car and the notes, Block says that the “more work than ever before” attitude was true of the crew prepping and working on his Hyundai i20 the whole week as well.
“[It’s also] the team with testing and constantly changing the car through the event to give me the best car going into that powerstage.
“The first goal was to you know try and get in the lead and we were able to do that in the first day and then trying to win the powerstage today. They were some big goals, but we were able to put in the work and make it work.”
Block’s comments of having to put more effort into the homework side of rallying is on par with his ARA peers this year, as growing competition in the series has led to more and more serious racecraft among championship contenders.
Brandon Semenuk has changed his approach since taking on Keaton Williams as a co-driver this year. He now stops early in transit so he’s away from the rest of the drivers at time control, allowing him to remain focused on the stage ahead.
Travis Pastrana is also undertaking more homework, now often showing up to service time controls with a laptop already in hand, watching the stages he just ran and adjusting notes with Rhiannon Gelsomino to get a jump start on doing so in the service park itself.
This time though, it was Block’s effort that paid off the most, earning a fourth win of the season for team Hoonigan, and taking the lead in the championship.