Block apologizes for early Rally México exit

A burned-out engine has caused reason to reflect for Block

Block retired

It’s not often you hear a driver apologizing. It’s even rarer to hear one apologize for a cooked engine, but that’s what American star Ken Block did when he spoke to DirtFish about his Rally México early bath.

The Monster Energy driver suffered the ignominy of having to hobble around the Monster Energy Street Stage GTO on Thursday night when his Ford Escort RS Cosworth misfired its way into a safe mode, severely restricting the power available to him.

Back in service, he offered a stoic shrug and said he’d be back stronger on Friday morning. And he was. For a while. Running a strong 17th overall on the El Chocolate split times, KB noticed a light on the dash. It was a bright light. And it was flashing.

He decided to crack on. Not too much further, bits of metal melted and the end of the road for a second engine in a week had been reached.

“This sucks,” Block told DirtFish. “We put all of this effort in, we enjoy seeing the fans and do everything we can and we can’t perform because of bad luck. We love doing what we do, but there’s nothing we can do [now] except say sorry.

“The car overheated, but I ignored the signals on the dash and drove until it virtually stopped. I probably could’ve saved myself some money by stopping early, but it is what it is: I came here to race and I want to race. 17th 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’s week hadn’t started well with an issue at the test on the Monday ahead of the rally.

“It’s been very frustrating,” he said. “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 last night. We had a problem with the engine, it’s the spare [engine] in the car now after the original one ingested some dust on the test.

“It’s pretty devastating, we haven’t had one stage at 100% and now we’re done. We’ll re-prep the car and get ready for the next one.”

Hoonigan Racing’s next planned outing is the Barbados Rally at the end of May.