After hitting a rock at the New England Forest Rally in Maine, Block's Group A rally car rolled over and burst into flames, which quickly consumed the Euro-spec '90s legend. Luckily Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino were able to get out of the car after noticing it was on fire, and escaped serious injury. In an Instagram post, Block even says he wanted to continue after rolling the car, as they landed wheels down, but the quickly advancing flames put an end to those plans. The YouTube video above shows just how little time they had to exit the car.
Part of the blame can lie with the Escort's gearbox, which, according to Block, messed up a shift as he approached the corner. In the onboard video, the engine note does sound a little funny just before the incident. Block's racing line, combined with the unfortunate timing for the gearbox malady, caused him to clip a really big rock, which sent the Cossie rolling. It's a shame, especially as Block and Gelsomino were at third place overall.
A Reddit thread analyses the gearbox issue further, with some blame placed on a confused transmission position sensor. But there were moments where the Escort performed well, as seen in Block's onboard video released on Twitter.
A few jumps and fast corners from one of my favorite gravel stages: Concord Pond (ss 1 & 2) of the New England Forest Rally. We were 4th fastest on this stage (behind some fast modern rally cars). Not bad for a 25 year old Ford Escort RS Cossie Group A/WRC car! #RIPCossie #NEFR pic.twitter.com/66PakxErAw— Ken Block (@kblock43) July 21, 2018