Ken Block, Matthew Wilson to return to WRC in Spain this weekend

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Red Bull Global Rallycross star Ken Block will take his talents – and his Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta – back to the FIA World Rally Championship for this weekend’s Rally Spain.

It marks Block’s first WRC event since Rally Mexico, 2013, and his first tarmac event since 2011. Block, who between Red Bull GRC and World RallyX hasn’t done much stage rallying this year (Rally America’s Rally of the 100 Acre Wood where he took first overall), he’s not concerned about the layoff.

“I’m obviously here this weekend more as a tourist,” Block said in a release. “What I mean by that is that I’m out here to have a great time and do as well as I possibly can. I’m very much aware that I haven’t had a lot of stage rally time this season and I haven’t been in a WRC car since Mexico last year. So, I don’t expect to be on the pace as everyone in the top of the field.

“However, I’m hopeful that I’ll find a quick pace early on, maintain it and if I’m feeling well, maybe push a bit harder. We’ll see, it’s too soon to tell. My personal expectations are relatively low though, my main goal is to bring the car back safe and sound every evening and my other would be to potentially break into the top 10 if the rally is favorable. We’ll see, either way, I’m stoked to be back behind the wheel in WRC for an event.”

He’ll co-drive with Alex Gelsomino in the No. 15 Ford Fiesta RS.

Block isn’t the only one making a return. Englishman Matthew Wilson, son of M-Sport team owner and rally legend Malcolm, returns to a WRC event for the first time since Rally Sweden, 2013 (fill-in for Nasser Al-Attiyah for Qatar M-Sport Ford WRT).

The younger Wilson competed regularly from 2006 through 2011 in a Ford Focus and later a Ford Fiesta ST. This weekend, he’ll be in a M-Sport-prepared Ford Fiesta RRC in the WRC 2 category, partnered by long-time co-driver Scott Martin. The car will be entered by Polish squad C-Rally.

“It’s the 10th anniversary of the first WRC rally that Scott and I competed in and we thought it would be great to have a bit of fun at the end of the year,” he said, via the official WRC website.

Spain marks the second-to-last rally of the 2014 season. Sebastien Ogier currently holds a 27-point lead over Jari-Matti Latvala (217-190), with the Rally Wales from November 13-16 the season finale. Ogier has six wins to Latvala’s four from the first 11 rallies this season.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III