Monday, July 16, 2018

KEN BLOCK CLAIMS 2ND OVERALL IN HIS AMERICAS RALLYCROSS DEBUT





AUSTIN, TX, JULY 16, 2018In his first outing of 2018 in his Ford Focus RS RX rallycross car and his debut in the Americas Rallycross Championship, this past weekend, Ken Block overcame a series of technical challenges throughout the race day yesterday and placed himself and his Focus squarely on the podium, landing his best rallycross finish in the last three seasons with a 2nd overall and kicking off his return to racing rallycross in America in a big way.

During his qualifying races throughout the day on Saturday, Block finished first in his Q1 race, first in his Q2 race, third in his Q3 race and second in his Q4 race, leaving him sitting in 3rd overall in Qualifying going into his Semi-Final—which, due to some unfortunate contact from elsewhere in the field, found Block finishing in 2nd and setting him up for P3 on the starting grid of the Final. From that starting position, Block advanced to P2 by turn 1 and held that position for the entirety of the Final.

“Today was a challenge for sure,” said Block. “We had some technical issues with the suspension on both my car and on Steve’s [Arpin] car, which made it hard to keep the pace we needed to be competitive out there, but, Steve’s Loenbro Motorsports team did a great job getting the cars repaired and out there and kept us competitive. It definitely felt great to be back racing rallycross in American and I’m stoked that I’m heading home with a 2nd overall from Austin. I’m looking forward to Canada in a few weeks, that’s a fun track that suits our cars well and I’ve got two seasons of experience running it from my time in World RX, so I’m hoping for another positive result up there.”

Block’s Hoonigan teammate, Steve Arpin, qualified 5th overall but suffered a mechanical failure in his rear suspension in the Semi-Final and was unable to advance to the Final.

Both Block and Arpin will be competing in their Ford Focus RS RX’s in a few weeks during ARX’s third round of the season, taking place August 4th and 5th at Trois-Rivieres in Canada.
In the interim, Block is competing in the New England Forest Rally next weekend in his 90’s Ford Escort RS Cossie Group A/WRC car.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Besner wins career-first national rally at Baie des Chaleurs







Besner wins career-first national rally at Baie des Chaleurs

NEW RICHMOND, Quebec – Jean-Sebastien Besner and Yvan Joyal clinched victory at Rallye Baie des Chaleurs after a hard fought contest against the elements. The pair finished with a winning margin of two minutes, 20 seconds, in what is Besner’s first ever Canadian Rally Championship national triumph.

“To come here and to win my first national rally is really something special,” said Besner. “So many things have to happen in exactly the right way to even have a chance to win and it has taken all this time to get here.”
Besner and Joyal took over the lead late on the first day after Joel Levac and Stephanie Lewis took a ten minute penalty and opted to retire from the event rather than battle back through the field. Besner and Joyal had put in a strong drive to that point, ending the first day with a gap of more than three minutes.
On Sunday’s stages, the strategy became one of managing the lead rather than pushing for stage wins. Thanks to years of competition experience, Besner and Joyal successfully held off their rivals through the longer morning stages, losing less than a minute of their cushion.
“With the lead we had, we knew we could be careful and afford to lose a little time,” said Besner. “We drove our own pace to make sure we didn’t go too slow, or so fast by taking big risks.”
Karel Carré and Samuel Joyal finished second overall. 2018 marked their first run at Rallye Baie, and the demands of the event left the two tired by the finish. The result puts Carré and Joyal directly into the hunt for the championship and marks their second podium in as many national rallies, though the pair skipped the Rocky Mountain Rally a month ago.
“I am happy with what we’ve done here,” said Karel. “I feel like we could maybe have driven faster, but really we had a good performance. Test Racing did a great job, Samuel was excellent on the notes.”
Struggling through a challenging year of disappointing car troubles, Boris Djordjevic finally returned to the podium with a third place result, joined by co-driver John Hall. Their rally was not without problems. The two struggled without boost for a few stages on each day, and other technical glitches also had an impact on their times, but when they managed a clean stage, they set second and third fastest stage times.
“We have spent so long chasing problems with this car,” said Djordjevic. “To get here to the finish is great, and even better to be on the podium. It’s been a long time, but the whole team has put in so much work to get us here, it feels really good to get this result.”
Coming into Rallye Baie, Simon Vincent and Hubert Gaudreau held the lead of the championship standings, and aimed to try to put distance on their rivals with a strong result. Fourth place at Baie allows the team to retain the lead in the points just ahead of their Test Racing teammates.
The local team of André and René Leblanc had set a strong pace through the event, battling for podium positions. But a mechanical failure landing on the large jump on Sunday cost the team nearly 12 minutes in penalties. Even with the setback, the pair were fast enough to claim fifth overall.
“On stage times, we did very well this weekend,” said André Leblanc. “But we also had a problem that cost us a lot of time. That is also part of the sport, and we have to accept that.”
Sixth overall went to Nicholas Spencer and Patrick Lévesque, who took top honours in the Production 4WD class. Most of the event was smooth sailing for the team, but difficulties on day two threatened to cost them time. First in Production allows Spencer to open the class lead, doubling the points of his closest rival.
Nicolas Laverdiere and Vincent Trudel struggled withe reliability problems and finished outside the top ten, but clinched second in Production 4WD. After damaging the car crashing out at Rocky Mountain Rally, the team will take advantage of the two month break before the next rally to take stock of the situation and hope to hit the reset button.
The two-wheel drive battle raged all event long, with two teams trading times through most of the rally. Wim van der Poel and Bryan Lord are getting comfortable with the abilities of their Ford Fiesta R2, and have proven competitive against rivals Jason Bailey and Shayne Peterson. Van der Poel and Lord found themselves in contention for the class victory thanks to focusing on their own driving rather than getting too caught up in what their opponents were doing, and the strategy ultimately proved successful. Van der Poel and Lord won by a margin of 34 seconds, and were rewarded by taking a clear lead in the class championship tables.
“We had a fantastic battle with Jason and Shayne all weekend really,” said van der Poel. “It’s also exciting because there is still a lot more we can get out of this car. It is so good, and we can just push it harder all the time.”
Bailey and Peterson vaulted higher up the standings, but are still outpaced in the points by the Quebec team of Mathieu Leblanc and Éric Dubé, who finished third in class, and tenth overall.
“We were definitely giving it all weekend, and Wim was really driving well and pushing us to go faster,” said Bailey. “You come to rallies to have fun competing against others, and to have this battle go down to the wire was so much fun. No matter whether we had won or finished second, it was the thrill of competition that makes it all worth while.”
Most teams were cautious on the jumps as class battles had settled down. Maxime Labrie and Anik Barrette were running for fun after transmission problems on day one knocked them out of contention. Through the day on Sunday, the roads dried out from Saturday’s rain, offering more grip and confidence. Labrie made the most of that confidence, thrilling fans at the jump with progressively larger flights. The pair finished ninth overall.
The Canadian Rally Championship continues September 6-8 for the Rallye Défi, midpoint of the seven event series.

   






   

KEN BLOCK AND STEVE ARPIN IN FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR NEW RALLYCROSS SEASON




AUSTIN, TX, JULY 2, 2018Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block has officially kicked off his 2018 rallycross program, in partnership with Steve Arpin and Loenbro Motorsports. Combined, both extremely talented drivers have 10 overall rallycross wins, countless podium finishes and are looking to add more to their respective résumés with help from an updated Ford Focus RS RX rallycross car that Arpin and his team have been developing during the first half of 2018. This updated car will usher in a new era of performance for the Focus RS RX.


The partnership is built on Block—as well as Hoonigan—bringing their motorsports marketing expertise to the table, while Arpin’s side brings extensive technical prowess when it comes to developing and running rallycross cars.


“When I made the decision to return to a handful of rallycross events this year, I knew partnering with Steve [Arpin] and his team was the right move,” said Block. “I’ve always liked Steve as a driver and I had been keeping an eye on how he and his team had developed the older Ford Fiesta RX43 chassis and were still achieving top results with it, so I knew I wanted to work with them with our Focus RS RX. When I made that decision, Ford stepped up and decided to then supply Steve a Focus RS RX of his own to further help assist in the development. Needless to say, I’m very excited about the forward progress they've made and I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel at the race in Austin July 14th!”


"Obviously I'm excited about partnering with Ken [Block] this season," said Arpin. "He and I have always gotten along great at the track in the past and I think we're both in a position to help each other this year. I'm also happy about the fact that Ford Performance entrusted myself and my team to help further develop the Focus RS RX rallycross program, the car has felt amazing in our testing with the revisions we've made and I'm really eager to get it out on track and put it to the ultimate test against the competition."



Both drivers will be competing in the three remaining ARX (Americas Rallycross Championship) races, taking place in Austin, TX, at Circuit of the Americas on July 14th, Trois Rivieres in Quebec, Canada August 4th to the 5th and back in Austin at COTA September 29th to the 30th. Block will also compete In the U.S. round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, taking place that same weekend of September 29th and 30th at COTA. Additionally, both drivers will also compete at Travis Pastrana’s Nitro World Games rallycross event, taking place September 22nd and 23rd at the Utah Motorsports Complex outside of Salt Lake City, UT.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Tag Rally Sport to Enter Can-Am Maverick X3 in Rally Colorado



Rangeley, Colorado; Rory Gardiner and Steven Harrell will resume their partnership for Tag Rally Sport in a brand new vehicle for next month’s Rally Colorado, coming to Rangeley, CO on July 20-21. Gardiner and Harrell will join the UTV Turbo class in its first-ever outing in the Rally America National Championship, racing the #353 Can-Am Maverick X3 in their first event together since this race last year.
“I’m excited to be a part of the first event to permit UTV’s in Rally America,” Gardiner explained. “Without too much modification, you pretty much have a rally ready vehicle. Lack of seat time will definitely be a factor—the test day on Wednesday is going to be the first time I ever even get to see this beastly machine in person. There’s going to be a learning curve from the Subaru that we are used to rallying, but it is going to be an awesome time regardless.
“The roads out in Rangeley are smooth and fast with tons of elevation changes, it’s definitely my favorite rally that I’ve been a part of. Oh, and there’s a dope Mexican restaurant in town that I’ve been craving since we left last year, so you’ll know where to find me at night!”
“Rally Colorado last year was the highlight of my season and one of the most fun rallies I’ve done,” added Harrell. “The roads are incredible, constantly jumping from fast and flowing to tight and technical to ‘don’t look down’ to places where you need to pick your line very carefully. It keeps you on your toes, which is what I enjoy most from an event, conditions that challenge me to bring my absolute best to the table. And the downhill switchbacks are just a rally competitor’s dream, there’s no way to go down those without a huge grin on your face.
“I started my racing career co-driving a desert truck in the Nevada desert nine years ago. Getting to do Colorado in a UTV feels like going back home to my roots and I can’t wait to hit the stages with it!”
In last year’s event, Gardiner and Harrell teamed up in an Open Light-spec Subaru Impreza 2.5RS. They placed fifth in class and 12th overall with a total time of 2:33:21.2. The duo have taken multiple regional Open Light podiums in past years, while Harrell has been a frequent presence in the championship while paired with a number of top drivers.
 For more information on Rally Colorado, click here. Competitors can register for the event here, and volunteers can also apply to join the crew here.

New England Forest Rally Announces Team O'Neil Regional Cash Purse




Organizers for the New England Forest Rally announced today an expanded partnership with Team O'Neil Rally School to reward grassroots regional competitors. The new Team O'Neil Regional Cash Purse will award a total of $6,000 to regional entries, with a single competitor capable of winning as much as $1,900.

The cash purse will support regional teams, who typically have fewer resources, at next month's New England Forest Rally, July 20-21. The purse will also encourage those in the heart of the rally field to perform at their highest levels. Performance-based awards will be available to those entered in the regional NA4wd, O2wd, and L2wd classes, while a Longest Haul prize will be given to the regional team with the furthest drive to the event.

The top three finishers of the first run through Friday's Concord Pond stage in the regional NA4wd, O2wd, and L2wd classes will receive cash prizes totaling $2,100. A further $3,000 in total awards will be giving to the top three finishers in each of the listed classes on Saturday's New Hampshire Regional Rally. Entrants must be regional only entries, National and Dual entries are not eligible for the Team O'Neil Regional Cash Purse.

Winners of the Team O'Neil Regional Cash Purse will be determined based on official scores, including all assessed penalties. Award payouts will take place during the podium ceremony on Saturday evening, July 21.

More information on the Team O'Neil Regional Cash Purse can be found here. Award totals for the purse are below:

Stage Wins on Concord Pond 1 for NA4WD, O2WD and L2WD ($2,100 in total):
A cash prize will be given out to three classes NA4WD, O2WD and L2WD for the top three stage times in each class of the “Concord Pond” stage (first running) on Friday, July 20, 2018.
1st Place: $400
2nd Place: $200
3rd Place: $100

New Hampshire Regional NA4WD, O2WD and L2WD Overall Results ($3,000 in total)
For the New Hampshire Regional Rally (Day 2 of NEFR, Saturday, July 21, 2018) the overall top 3 places of NA4WD, O2WD and L2WD will each receive:
1st Place: $600
2nd Place: $300
3rd Place: $100

Longest haul, Free Entry ($900)
The regional team (any class) that starts the rally the furthest away from Sunday River Resort (15 South Ridge Road Newry, ME 04261) will be returned their entry fee.