Rally America: Ken Block takes early lead at STPR

Tony CastaneiraAnalyst IJune 6, 2009

Ken Block set a blazing pace to take the early lead on the opening day of the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally,

The Susquehannock Trail event has long been known as one of the most demanding events on the calendar since it’s inception in 1977. The 2009 running of the contest features a return to the popular two-day format, with a spectator-friendly daylight schedule and super special stages on each day.

Bill Bacon in his 2006 Mitsubishi EVO IX is in second. Bacon moved up a position after the NOS Energy team of Andrew Comrie-Picard was assessed a penalty for fuelling procedures that dropped them down in the standings.

Block’s Subaru Rally Team USA teammate, Travis Pastrana, finished the day in third after damaging his suspension on the second stage.

Pat Moro is leading the Super Production charge and is in fourth-place overall, followed by Piotr Wiktorczyk.

Pastrana isn’t the only driver having trouble on the opening miles of the rally. Canadian Antoine L’Estage lost boost, dropping a minute to the leader in the first stage. Andi Mancin took a rock to a brake line and struggled to finish the first stage without brakes. Supercross and motocross star Brian Deegan broke a driveshaft on the second stage on his professional rally debut.

The most disappointing news of the day is the report that the Swedish World Rally Team of Patrik Sandell is out of the contest after only one stage.

It is yet to be confirmed, but reports are they suffered an engine failure in their 2007 Subaru Impreza. Sandell had been expected to challenge for the win at STPR. The Swede has won two Production World Rallies so far this year and was the Junior World Rally Champion in 2006.

Photo: Rally America