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Block wins at 100 Acre Wood rally

2/29/2012
Ken Block competing at the recent 100 Acre Wood Stage Rally in Missouri. Courtesy photo

Ken Block loves ripping through mud, gravel and dirt -- especially when it involves winning the 100 Acre Wood stage rally in Missouri. That's where Block captured his sixth overall victory at the Salem, Mo., edition of the Rally America National Championship on February 25.

The 100 Acre Wood stage rally was Block's first event of 2012 and where he chose to race-test his new car. Block raced in at least eight countries last year, but said the Missouri stage rally is a special course.

"The roads are fast with linking corners and have a good variety," said Block. "It's one of my favorite events in the world."

Block won five straight victories from 2006-2010 at 100 Acre Wood. He missed the 2011 rally when he was shuttling between Sweden and Mexico for the World Rally Championship.

This year, Block and co-driver Alessandro Gelsomino finished first in 15 of the 17 stages of the rally. This stage rally was also a coming-of-age party for the Monster World Rally Team's new ride.

Block's car, the Hybrid Function Hooning Vehicle, proved it was stage rally-worthy. Announced last year, the transformer Ford Fiesta will help Block switch between different motor sports more smoothly. While 2011 was marked by some mechanical issues in the Ford, Block said consistency in the car will help him transition among different event demands.

"One of the problems has been switching between different cars," said Block. "This new car allows me to have the same cockpit and basic chassis for Gymkhana, RallyCross and stage rally."

Although Kenny "the Hoon" led early through the 100 Acre Wood, he and Gelsomino found themselves with a setback they couldn't have prepared for. About midway through the stages -- with a healthy lead -- a punctured tire added a potentially disastrous 45 seconds to their time. That delay dropped them to second place.

Block piloted his hoon-mobile to the front of the pack through remaining stages. Dave Higgins finished second place overall, 29.3 seconds behind the hoonigan.

"That's rally. Sometimes things come apart," said Block. "And you deal with it and figure out how to get the win."

Block told ESPN that Gymkhana 5 is in the works. His team will soon start filming soon with a release set for mid-summer this year. The next installment of his viral YouTube video series will be filmed at a "secret location."

Next race for Block: WRC action in Guanajuato, Mexico runs March 8-11.