Posted Feb 28th 2012 11:32AM
Last week we reported that Ken Block and Alex Gelsemino had been getting some practice in hopes of taking their sixth win at the 100 Acre Wood Rally. That extra stage time must have helped, as the Monster World Rally Team did manage to pick up their sixth win at the rally in Pooh Bear's woods.
Not that Block had it easy mind you, as Subaru driver and reigning Rally America champion, David Higgins was hot on his heels at the ultra fast rally in the Ozarks. The Brit took second spot on the podium, followed by Polish rally champion Krzyszof Holowczyc in a Mitsubishi EVO.
Usually fast, the Canadians in the field did not fare so well this year. Winners of the 2011 100 Acre Wood Rally, Antoine L'Estage & Nathalie Richard had a rare transmission failure on stage 4 in their Rockstar Energy EVO X.
Crazy Leo Urlichich, who flew the Autoblog Canada colours at last year's Tall Pines Rally, did his best Villeneuve impression after blowing a tire early on during day one's stages. Even on 3 wheels, Urlichich was faster than most of the field and wowed the fans by getting massive air on the jumps. Day 2 ended when another blown tire damaged the front suspension of the Subaru. When the tie rod failed, Crazy Leo and his co-driver Carl Williamson went for a ride in a massive crash.
We've got lots of images from the rally, including Crazy Leo on three wheels, in the gallery above. Head past the break where we've got a wrap up video and the full rally press release.
Related Gallery2012 100 Acre Wood Rally
Monster World Rally Team's Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino piloted their 2012 Ford Fiesta H.F.H.V. to a sixth Rally in the 100 Acre Wood title on February 24-25th, 2012, in Salem, MO. The team won 15 of the 17 stages in a hard-fought battle on the extremely fast Ozark Mountain roads and squeaked out a 29.3 second victory over Subaru Rally Team USA's David Higgins and Craig Drew.
From the very beginning Block set a blistering pace outpacing his rivals to lead after day one. On the first leg of the second day, Block lost time to Higgins with a pair of tire punctures and suspension damage. After service, the team made up their lost time and pushed hard during the last two stages to secure the victory.
"I'm stoked about winning my 6th Rally in the 100 Acre Wood," said Block. "The battle against David Higgins was intense on every stage. He's the current Rally America champ and one of the people who helped teach me how to race a rally car when I first got started, so to finally compete against him on this level was great, I really enjoyed it. I'm definitely looking forward to running against him again later this year in Olympus."
David Higgins' second-place overall finish keeps the team on top of the 2012 Rally America National Championship standings.
Three-time Polish Rally Champion, WRC and Dakar Rally driver, Krzysztof Holowczyc took the third podium position in his Art Logisitics Racing Team Mitsubishi EVO. The team was slightly off the pace after replacing an engine damaged during testing, but managed to take advantage of some key competitor retirements to make the podium.
Most notably, Rockstar Energy Drinks's Antoine L'Estage and Nathalie Richard, last year's Rally in the 100 Acre Wood overall winners, broke a transmission on stage 4. The characteristically reliable team was battling with Block and Higgins, and within seconds of the factory-backed teams before their mechanical failure ended their run.
Deeper in the field, Canadian Rally Championship contender, Leonid Urlichich with co-driver Carl Williamson, broke a tie-rod on stage 9 to end their top-10 run. Chinese rally driver, Rick Song with co-driver Martin Brady, broke their engine on stage 8 leaving the race in the ninth overall position.
Lauchlin O'Sullivan and Scott Putnum won the Super Production Class coming from behind to snatch victory from current SP Class leaders Travis and Terry Hanson by 43.9 seconds. O'Sullivan overcame various car problems to overtake the Hansons when their car verged on the brink of overheating in the last few stages. The win is particularly sweet as the team adjusts to the only Mitsubishi EVO in the class.
Chris Duplessis and Karl Atkinson repeated their 2WD Class success with another first-place finish after winning the season-opening Sno*Drift Rally in dominant fashion. Andrew Comrie-Picard and Brian O'Kane pushed hard on the second day to snatch second in class, besting third-place finishers, Dillon Van Way and Jake Blattner by a narrow 2.8 seconds!
Four 2WD Class cars placed in the top 10 overall as evidence that Rally America's 2WD drivers can beat cars with twice the horsepower and place in the upper third of the 65-car field.
The husband and wife team of Henry and Krolikowski piloted their Open Class 2000 Subaru Impreza to the Tresspassers Will Regional Rally victory, and Justin Pritchard and Ryan Scott took their Open Light Class Subaru Impreza to the 100 Acre Wood Regional Rally finish.
Fans who couldn't attend the event were able to watch tape-delayed driver interviews and stage rally action on www.rally-america.com.
The third round of the Rally America National Championship takes place at the Oregon Trail Rally May 4-6 in Portland, OR.
The 2012 Rally America National Championship is proudly supported by VP Racing Fuels - the Official Fuel of Rally America, Subaru of America, Ford Racing, ParkNBlend, Exedy Racing Clutches, Hawk Performance Brakes and RECARO seats.
Complete stage results: www.rally-america.com/events/2012/100AW/results/
Image Credit: Scott Rains for Rally America