WHILE BLOCK’S TITLE FIGHT COMES UP SHORT
HOUGHTON, MI — A first-place finish in class, and fourth overall, at Lake Superior Performance Rally (LSPR) was enough for Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Gelsomino to clinch the two-wheel-drive (2WD) Rally America National Championship, Ford Fiesta’s second consecutive in the series.
"To win such a close championship is really great," said Reeves. "I like the high pressure. We put everything on the line and the car preformed for us. Rhianon did a great job also on the notes, so I’m very proud of what we were able to accomplish."
For Reeves and Gelsomino, a class win at LSPR was all they needed to win the 2WD title, however, their battle against Andrew Comrie-Picard and Jeremy Wimpey came down to the final stage, where the Ford team was able to take the lead by six seconds for the win.
"Yeah, at this rally the lead changed about seven times," said Reeves. "Last night we took a bit of time out of them, so we felt comfortable going in today and they just threw it back at us.
"It was helpful that our car is very exceptional on slower grounds," Reeves added. "They tried to slow us down, so we threw everything we could into the stages and then we came back in the last stage to take nine seconds out of ACP to win. It’s just a great feeling."
The Team O’Neil Fiesta sat on top of the 2WD podium for its fifth consecutive rally, giving the Australian duo a perfect record in the series having won every event they entered. Reeves’ five consecutive class wins helped tally 11 podium appearances for Fiesta this season, which clinched the 2WD Manufacturers’ Championship for Ford.
"We set out to come and do one rally at the start of the year," said Reeves. "And now we’ve won five in a row and come home with the title in two-wheel-drive and was able to be a part of helping Ford get the 2WD Manufacturers’ Championship. It’s really unbelievable.
"Team O’Neil Motorsports has been really great to work with," added Reeves. "And we’ve built a strong relationship with Ford through this experience that we hope will continue."
While Reeves and Gelsomino were celebrating, Ford drivers Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino were frustrated after they were involved in a multi-rotation roll during stage 12 of their winner-take-all battle against defending champions David Higgins and Craig Drew.
"I’m gutted with how today ended," said Block. "We were really charging hard and were actively closing the gap on David [Higgins]. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that corner marked in my notes as dangerous and I was going flat-out. I got caught out. It’s definitely not how I wanted to end the season, especially with the championship within reach, but that’s how racing goes some days. Luckily, both Alex and I are okay and hopefully we’ll be back to contest for the championship again next season."
Despite the disappointment, the Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta HFHV duo conclude 2013 second overall in the national championship with three consecutive first-place finishes and a tallied 51 stage wins of a possible 115.
FORD RALLY AMERICA 2013 PEFORMANCES
FORD'S RALLY AMERICA TWO-WHEEL-DRIVE CHAMPIONS
The next season of Rally America National Championship starts January 24-25, 2014 in Atlanta, Michigan at Sno*Drift Rally.
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