Ken Block retired from the Gymkhana series after 10 tire-slaying episodes, but he is not done racing. His most recent foray into the rally world suffered a major setback, after his Escort’s engine failed catastrophically at the 100 Acre Wood Rally in Missouri last week. The car had to be towed off the course by his team van.
At least it didn’t burn to the ground like the last one.
Block announced his Cossie World Tour back in February, a tour which took him and his newly built Ford Escort RS Cosworth to a handful of races around the world.
Given the engine failure, his debut for the Ford Escort RS Cosworth was obviously not ideal. The video he posted documenting the experience shows as much—oil sprays up on the windshield, then oil smoke pours out from under the hood, before Block finally yields to defeat.
“Instead of finishing these awesome stages, now we gotta get towed through them.” Block said while being pulled through the woods by the team van. “This isn’t any fun, I would much rather be driving these stages.”
The video doesn’t say exactly what went wrong with the Ford YB engine, and the team did have a spare they chose not to install because they did not know what caused the failure in the first place. Instead the team elected to take the time to prepare for the next rally in New Zealand, which involved meticulously cleaning the car (New Zealand has strict rules against bringing foreign materials in the country).
Block’s wife Lucy also competed in the rally and managed to finish. For the next race, we hope the engine stays together and we can enjoy more video of the sweet retro-styled Ford sliding on gravel.
A cynical fan might question why the Hoonigan team brought a race car with about 40 fairly easy miles on it and no established endurance testing to a flat-out competition.