Monster World Rally Team’s Ken Block — and for WRC Mexico, teammate Chris “Atko” Atkinson — took to the gravel stages of Rally Guanajuato Mexico for the team’s first international rally of the year and came away with a 9th overall finish for Block and a stage win for Atkinson during one of leg two’s super special stages — a first ever for the MWRT.
“I’m stoked to have cracked the top ten and scored points here in Mexico,” said Block. “After having electrical issues last year, it felt great to come back, have the car run well and just focus on my driving. This is always a difficult rally and this year it got even more challenging with that 54 kilometer stage during the final leg—that stage was tough! I’m also glad to have had Atko here with us for the rally as well. He put down that blistering stage time on SS12 Friday night and landed MWRT it’s first ever stage win, which is awesome.”
While Block’s 9th overall finish was a high note for the team, things didn’t go as smoothly for teammate Atkinson. Demonstrating the ability to put down consistently quick top-ten stage times, Atko unfortunately suffered mechanical woes on legs two and three of the rally. After having an off post-SS16 due to a brake issue arising during the flying finish, Atko came back for Sunday’s leg three under SuperRally rules. However, 16.5 km into the brutal 54 km Guanajuatito stage—which claimed fellow Ford drivers Latvala and Novikov—Atko was forced to retire due to a broken front suspension. Despite the hardships, Atko enjoyed his time with the MWRT.
“We had some good moments race-wise out on stage,” said Atkinson. “But, we also had some mechanical issues that held us back. What’s been awesome though, is being a part of the Monster World Rally Team and Ken’s crew. We were able to set some great stage times in the Fiesta while still having a lot of fun. I hope we can sort out a deal to do more rallies with MWRT this year.”