Block Hopes to Keep Up Blistering Pace at Bristol
Check the speed charts in a Global Rallycross practice or qualifying session, and chances are you’ll see Ken Block’s name atop the list.
The GRC Supercars driver, “Gymkhana” video star, and World Rally Championship veteran has a knack for putting down fast laps in the #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST, as he did in yesterday’s practice sessions at Bristol Motor Speedway. Block turned a lap of 28.163 seconds, followed by a provisional time of 28.296 seconds in qualifying—both session bests.
“The track here is one of the most unique tracks I’ve driven on with this type of racecar,” Block noted. “In the last race at New Hampshire, I was able to use what I know of race craft to set the fastest time in qualifying, but looking at this track, all that’s kind of thrown out the window. Finding the fastest spot on the bank coming out of these corners is going to be really, really important. The bank, they claim, is up to 36 degrees in some spots, so what’s going to be quicker—lower or higher on the bank—is going to be really important.”
Block’s goal, as always, is to win; judging by his speed, there’s a good chance that he’ll be back on the front row in Saturday’s Supercars final. After a disappointment at New Hampshire, coming home fifth, he’ll be as motivated as ever to maintain the top spot.
“The main thing about New Hampshire was that we were dealing with water on the track and painted lines,” he explained. “I took a little bit of a risk by taking the middle position on the front row, and I just ended up getting pushed out in the first turn. Unfortunately, that’s just a part of rallycross.
“I had a perfect day until that happened, and it was really disappointing. The main thing is you have to take every little bit of what happens in these events and learn from it. Hopefully I can take the lessons I learned and do better the next time.”
While last week may not have worked out the way he wanted it to, Block’s strategy hasn’t changed all that much in Bristol. One unlucky break at New Hampshire won’t affect his mindset for future events—especially if he keeps landing on the front row.
“A lot of the time it’s about gauging risks,” he added. “That’s what I was trying to do at the start line. What I thought (at New Hampshire) was, I could potentially get a better jump on Topi (Heikkinen), because the middle line was cleaner and had no painted lines or water. But he got a great start, and that’s what changed my entire day!”